Today,U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King applauded an announcement that ND Paper LLC has reached an agreement to purchase the Old Town Mill, which has been idled since the previous owners ended operations at the mill in 2015. ND Paper will shift the mill’s operations and invest in capital improvements to reduce manufacturing costs. The Old Town Mill is expected to reopen in early 2019 and will support more than 100 jobs in the region. This is the latest investment in Maine’s forest economy from ND Paper; earlier this week, the company announced that they would invest $111 million at their Rumford Mill, which currently supports 650 jobs and is expected to add an additional 50 employees.
“Today’s announcement is the latest in a line of important investments that will boost not just our state’s forest products industry, but also the Maine families and communities that rely on this vital sector of our economy,” said Senators Collins and King. “We commend ND Paper for making long-term investments in the Old Town Mill that will create more than 100 jobs in the Bangor region and revitalize one of our state’s most historic manufacturing sites. We will continue working with industry and community leaders to help our state’s forest economy thrive for generations to come.”
“Our acquisition of the Old Town pulp mill is supportive of ND Paper’s strategic fiber sourcing initiatives,” added Ken Liu, CEO of ND Paper. “Beyond that, we clearly recognize the economic and community impact of this restart to Penobscot County; we are thrilled for the opportunity to create new, high-paying jobs in the State of Maine.”
Senators Collins and King have been strong supporters of Maine’s forest economy. In 2016, they called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT), which would work across agencies and sectors to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. The creation of the EDAT and subsequent federal funding from the EDA and U.S. Forest Service established the 2018 FOR/Maine Initiative, an industry-led effort that last month released the following recommendations to grow Maine’s forest economy:
- Invest, Innovate, Grow – Sustain and grow Maine’s existing and emerging forest products economy.
- Manage Sustainably – Manage the wood resource using sustainable and responsible forest management practices.
- Develop Workforce – Prepare workforce for the future of the forest products economy.
- Support Communities – Increase prosperity in Maine forest economy communities, especially those in rural areas and those affected by mill closures.
- Coordinate & Persist – Organize the forest products industry with committed public sector partners, including the University of Maine, to implement the vision and goals.