The Cohasset City Council approved plans for a $440 million wood mill in a raucous meeting Tuesday night where council members shouted their votes over activists' interjections.
The five-person council was charged with determining whether the environmental review Huber Engineered Woods submitted was sufficient.
The state Legislature exempted Huber from needing to complete a lengthier environmental impact statement typically required for projects of its size, and the Cohasset City Council's decision kept that exemption intact.
Numerous project supporters in the audience applauded after the vote, which was unanimous.
Environmental and Indigenous activists will likely appeal the decision and challenge other aspects of the permitting process that remain. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe says the mill, a mile from its reservation border, would impact treaty rights in nearby public forests.
The 750,000-square-foot oriented strand board mill would consume about 400,000 cords of mostly aspen wood annually — a 14% increase from current statewide harvest levels.
Huber's review found the state's forests could sustainably handle the increased logging, but opponents say the review did not focus on local timber resources.
The plant would also be a major greenhouse gas emitter, which Huber said would be offset by trapping carbon in its wood products and using wood-burning furnaces.
Huber wants to get the plant running by 2025 and expects to employ 150 people. Millions in public grants, loans and incentives have been approved for the mill, which still requires a number of state and federal permits before construction can begin.