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Statement from Sen. Sylvia Allen on Snowflake mill closing

“Catalyst Paper announced today it is closing its paper mill in Snowflake. The decision means more than 300 people are losing their jobs in September. Hundreds more in the community who do business with the mill will also be impacted by the closure.

I am heartbroken by this announcement. These are my friends and neighbors who are losing their work. The mill is the lifeblood of the Snowflake-Taylor area. It’s been operating for more than 50 years.

Catalyst says it has struggled to make a profit because the demand for the newsprint it produces is down ten percent, but there is more to this. The troubles go back to before Catalyst even bought the plant. Back in the ‘90s, the paper mill was a profitable plant that used pulp wood to make paper. Then, federal policies and radical environmentalists shut down the forests due to the Mexican Spotted Owl. The mill was forced to switch from pulp wood to recyclable paper in an attempt to keep the mill going, but recently there have been so many factors working against Catalyst. Fuel costs have been soaring, the dollar has lost its value, China is producing paper at much lower costs, and our country is facing a debt crisis. The closure of the mill is another reminder of just how sick our national economy is today.

I will not rest until we can find work for these great employees. I’m calling on the company to help these fine folks secure employment. I’ve talked with the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Governor’s Office and am encouraged that they will do all they can. It’s a sad day in Navajo County, but I have faith that the people of Snowflake will bounce back from this sad development.”

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