Bangor, Maine-- U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) today released this statement following the announcement that Verso will close its Bucksport paper mill later this year.
"This is absolutely devastating news for these dedicated employees and their families, as well as for Bucksport and the surrounding communities. Many of these workers have spent much of their lives working at the mill and have poured their hearts into the work there.
"As these hard workers and many others across Maine know far too well, increased foreign competition and a decline in the demand for paper continue to present serious economic difficulties for the paper industry. It is absolutely essential that trade agreements be fair to American workers and open new markets for American products.
"It is disappointing that the company did not give more notice of its intention to shut down the mill and sell the energy assets. Given the harm its decisions will cause more than 500 workers and their families, it would have been helpful if the company had worked more closely with the workers, community, and the state to identify ways to lessen this blow.
"We urge Verso to file a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance to help their employees. We stand ready to encourage the Department of Labor to approve this application, so that the affected workers are eligible for employment training, income support, and job search assistance."