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PacWest Puts Newport Smelter "On Hold"

A Canadian company says it has put on hold its plans to build a smelter near Newport.

The CEO of PacWest Silicon has sent a letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, detailing his reasons for the delay.

PacWest notified the Washington Department of Ecology in 2018 about its plans to build the facility. But the company has yet to submit documents to the state.

The governor had sent a letter to the company asking for a better idea of the company’s intentions on the project.

In his response, PacWest President Jayson Tymko says the company met with resistance from several parties in its efforts to get assistance in getting their project underway.

Tymko said the company reached out to meet with the Kalispel Tribal Council about the tribe's concerns about the project. The tribe refused.

Tymko also outlined how PacWest broke off collaboration with the Pend Oreille County Public Utility District after it experienced what he called “bad faith” actions by the PUD, including giving inaccurate quotes for the cost of hooking up to electrical power. The company claims those quotes climbed from $12 million to $50 million. Last month, the PUD terminated its "cost reimbursement agreement" with the company.

Tymko's letter also criticizes Pend Oreille County officials for efforts to rezone their property so it could be used as a smelter. He says the company has never experienced such delays in the “countless number of communities we have successfully done business with."

The letter says Pac West considers the project to be on hold, but not abandoned.

We have calls out to the governor’s office, Pend Oreille PUD, and Pac West for comment.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.