FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 12/9/20
(Augusta, ME) – Maine Senate Republicans learned with great disappointment today of the decision by Pixelle Specialty Solutions not to rebuild the pulp digester destroyed in last April’s explosion at the Jay mill and to shut down operation of the mill’s third paper making machine.
At the same time, there is some solace in the news that Pixelle is committed to continuing operation of the two remaining machines at Jay; and we remain hopeful that a better economic outlook in the future will result in a change of plans for the digester and third machine.
The communities that rely on Maine’s paper industry have persevered through a long period of decline and uncertainty complicated recently by the economic impacts of a global pandemic. Those impacted include Maine’s forest products industry statewide. The mill consumes 15% of all the wood that is harvested in Maine forests and 23% of all pulp in Maine. More than 500 logging and trucking jobs are dependent upon the mill.
State government at all levels must respond rapidly to this need in the Jay area. From the Department of Labor with immediate assistance to the Maine Community College System with retraining opportunities.
In the Legislature, we stand ready to provide whatever assistance we can to both the region and the industry moving forward.
Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake: “There is never a good time for the closure of any mill operation and the loss of jobs that go with it; but with the holidays approaching and the economy already under great strain, this is especially difficult news. State government needs to respond quickly and with all of its assets to help ease the burden of this difficult news.”
State Senators Lisa Keim and Russell Black: “Our region has been hard hit in the past year including layoffs in the forest products industry, the explosion in Jay, and the decline in business activity due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The shutdown of the machine in Jay is a blow, but we are a tough, resilient people; and with the support of our communities and our state government, we will work through the latest challenge together and find better days ahead.”