Gov. Roy Cooper is chiming in after the closure of the Canton paper mill, the economic center of the small mountain town for more than a 100 years. In a recent statement on March 16th, Cooper urged the operators of the plant, which announced they will shutdown this summer, to find a way to keep it running, saying closing the facility would have a “devastating effect” on the community and the economy. About 1,100 employees are expected to lose their jobs.
Cooper also said the state would seek to recover $12 million in state-funded incentives Pactiv-Evergreen received to keep the mill operating if it closed. A letter from the state Attorney General is demanding the company repay the grant funds immediately based on “the company’s clear intent to breach” the agreement.
Local officials have pledged resources to the workers who are expected to be laid off. Cooper’s state government budget proposal released late last week on March 15 recommended $5 million be set aside to support employee and community needs in Canton. The budget document said any incentives the company pays back would be used to help Canton.