AUGUSTA – The Professional Logging Contractors (PLC) of Maine issued a statement of support today for Verso Corp.’s plan to restart the No. 3 paper machine and pulp line at its Androscoggin mill in Jay, which will have a positive effect on professional loggers and their families throughout Maine.
Verso Corp. intends to upgrade and restart the machine for production of packaging products by the third quarter of this year, creating 120 additional jobs in Jay and supporting many other jobs in the forest products industry. Hundreds of professional loggers across Maine rely on the mill as a market for timber, and the news that the pulp line for the No. 3 machine is being restarted is particularly good for a logging industry hard-hit by closures of pulp mills in recent years.
“This is great news for our state’s logging industry and we are hopeful that the reinvestment and commitment this move demonstrates is a sign of things to come in our state,” said Dana Doran, Executive Director of the PLC. “Our members are very supportive of our paper mill partners and workers, and the mills are vital to our industry. We applaud Verso for this move and for the confidence its shows in the strength of Maine’s workforce, especially the harvesting and trucking suppliers.”
$4 million of the estimated $17 million upgrade will come from a Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 challenge grant administered by the Maine Technology Institute.
“This should be a reminder that now is the time for Maine’s legislators, business leaders, communities, and industries to pull together and support every effort to enhance our forest products economy,” Doran said. “There are good things happening in that economy and many opportunities on the horizon for growth and success, but the whole is threatened if our logging workforce is unable to survive, and that means we must support markets for wood fiber from biomass to pulp to saw logs that enable our loggers to remain in business.”
The PLC has and will continue to work with its members, paper mill partners, and local legislators to seek solutions to the challenges facing the pulp and paper industry in Maine and the loggers who supply roundwood, clean chips, and biomass to local mills.