The owner of the Samoa pulp mill said it will shut down the plant for good after failing over the past year and a half to raise capital to restart it.

Freshwater Tissue Co. President Bob Simpson blamed federal regulations for making it impossible to secure loans, and expressed frustration at being unable to tap federal energy funds for an earlier-envisioned retrofit of the plant to a pulp and tissue producer.

”I am disappointed in our failure to restart the pulp mill,” Simpson said in a statement. “We exhausted all means of funding the project, with the intention of rehiring union workers.”

Members of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers Local 49 who have not found other jobs since the mill stopped operating in October 2008 now face a daunting job market and the expiration of unemployment benefits. The workforce is particularly aged, with some workers having put in more than 40 years at the mill.

”We kept holding on to hope,” said Local 49 President Nathan Zink, “but I didn't think it was going to happen as of a year ago.” 


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