Editor's Note: Rep. Tiffany sent a letter today to the President and CEO of the Verso Corporation regarding the plan to shut down the mill in Wisconsin Rapids. You can read the letter in its entirety below (or click here to view as PDF).
Dear Mr. St. John,
I was disappointed by the announcement that Verso plans to shut down the mill in Wisconsin Rapids, eliminating up to 900 direct jobs and adversely impacting many other businesses in the region whose fortunes are tied directly to the continued operation of the facility. The Verso board should reconsider this decision.
I am also concerned that the closure of the mill may harm the viability of Wisconsin’s critically important forest products industry and the adverse consequences that shuttering this facility may inflict on broader forest management efforts and overall forest health. Moreover, local taxpayers could be stuck with costs associated with environmental mitigation in the event of a sudden closure – adding insult to injury.
Verso’s “social responsibility” mission statement outlines a corporate commitment to be “an active participant in the communities where our employees live, work and play,” and a dedication to “the health and vitality of these communities.” In keeping with those guiding principles, Verso should seek to emulate the example of the Mead Family, which made a long-term commitment to the economic well-being of the region and its educational, environmental and social fabric for the nearly 100 years they previously operated the mill.
I hope you will continue working with state and local leaders to seek an alternative to this abrupt and permanent closure and explore options like repurposing production, seeking a buyer willing to continue operating the facility at full capacity, or considering a gradual wind-down of operations while other options can be considered.
Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you to identify a fairer outcome for the mill and for Wisconsin.
Member of Congress