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NEXT Renewable Fuels is now obtaining permits, some of which have been approved already, for the biofuel plant.

COURTESY PHOTO: PORT OF COLUMBIA COUNTY - NEXT Renewable Fuels is planning a facility at Port Westward Industrial Park near Clatskanie.The Labor Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon has endorsed NEXT Renewable Fuels' proposed biofuel production facility at Port Westward.

"This project is a win for labor, industry and the environment," Donna Nyberg, who chairs the caucus, said in a press release. "Not only does it provide apprenticeship opportunities that allow people to earn fair wages while learning on the job, it also supports Oregon's renewable fuel ambitions while restoring local wetland habitat."

NEXT's $2 billion project is currently in the permitting phase. Columbia County commissioners approved permits for the project in February, and as did the Oregon Department of State Lands more recently, but NEXT still needs the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to sign off on it.

NEXT has signed a neutrality agreement with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 union, agreeing to not interfere if the future employees of NEXT want to unionize. NEXT also has a letter of understanding with the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, for a union-built project.

NEXT plans to employ 240 workers once the facility is operational.

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