To the Editor: Doomed from the start 

To the Editor: 

Thank you for the “Digging the hole deeper” editorial on May 12. You are articulating what I have been thinking for several years, ever since the Fiberight proposal first surfaced. 

You see, after leaving Maine in 1977, I spent the next 15 years working in the field of municipal solid waste management as a project director in a prominent environmental engineering/consulting firm. During those years, I had the opportunity to lead multidisciplinary teams that “vetted” solid waste management projects being contemplated for investment by bond underwriters and other private parties. My instincts and professional experience told me that the Fiberight project was a dicey proposition from the get-go. I never thought that skeptical, practical Mainers would fall for something that had not been tested and proven at scale, in the field. 

One of the key parameters that project investors look for is economic viability of the project over the life of the financing. If there is a product to be sold as part of the revenue stream, can the product meet performance specifications and is the market stable and secure? In my opinion, Fiberight was never able to demonstrate performance to a degree that would have satisfied the investors I consulted for. It’s not just a matter of “getting the plant up and running.” It’s also a questionable, overly complex technology with an uncertain market future. 

I totally agree with you that “throwing good money after bad” is a foolish proposition. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail going forward. 


Abbie McMillen 



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