These small towns were dying. Then alternative power reenergized them.
Tucked along the rainy coastline, Grays Harbor Paper produces some of the country's only 100 percent recycled paper in a plant powered entirely by biomass fuel derived from logging waste.
It wasn't always like this. The mill, formerly owned by ITT Rayonier and International Paper, shut down in 1992, putting more than 600 people from nearby Hoquiam and Aberdeen out of work. "Families were breaking up and moving out," says Bill Quigg, a Hoquiam native who bought the mill in 1993. "There were suicides. It was really a hard time." Today, Grays Harbor Paper employs more than 200 people and Hoquiam is home to one of the nation's largest biodiesel plants.