Lawmakers want IP to postpone mill closure

Published 8:09 am Friday, October 30, 2009

WASHINGTON—Five congressional representatives from Virginia and North Carolina joined forces to send a letter to International Paper Chairman and CEO John Faraci Wednesday asking the company to consider postponing the closure of the Franklin mill for a year.

The letter, signed by U.S. Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Jim Webb, D-Va., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and U.S. Reps. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and Robert “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., asks the company to consider the effects of the mill’s closure on the region and cites a report released by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership that predicts an additional 2,400 job losses as a result.

The letter states that postponing the closure for a year would give the communities more time for workforce transition and new economic development strategies.

“We believe that a closing of this magnitude and with a community impact this deep necessitates your strong commitment to work with the affected local governments, state governments, and our offices to bring about the best possible results,” the letter states.

The five lawmakers requested a meeting with Faraci and community leaders to find out what other options, besides closing the mill, were considered and what will happen to the property once the mill is closed.