ESCANABA, MICHIGAN — A proposed conversion of the Escanaba paper mill to produce paperboard was given a vote of support by the state Legislature this week, but a firm decision is still months away. The state House and Senate both approved $200 million to support the project in the state’s spending bill Thursday. The bill now heads to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for final approval… Billerud, which owns the mill, is considering three sites for its future paperboard making operations. Also in the running for the shift to paperboard production are the Quinnisec mill, which produces graphic papers and pulp, and the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. facility, which now is a converting facility but produced graphic paper until 2020. The Wisconsin Rapids facility is supported by hydroelectric plants owned by Billerud on the Wisconsin River. This is not the first time the government has stepped in to make the Escanaba mill more appealing for the conversion.