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Re: E-M:/ Georgia-Pacific to Shut Down (Michigan) Paper Mill,Fire 285Employees

Anne (and others),
I have had this letter basically written back to you and this Listserv since before the Holidays, but just now got back to my desk after vacation. Here goes.
Regarding your comment on the GP-Kalamazoo closing and timber harvest levels, GP-Kalamazoo produced paper from Secondary Fiber, ie recycled, recovered (from the waste stream) and deinked pulp. They produced no virgin pulp themselves. GP-Kalamazoo closing permanently should not be used therefore in the political fracas on wether trees are being cut or not in this state. It is not germane to the argument.
It is not accurate to draw overarching correlations between one segment of the paper industry and another when it comes to over-capacity or re-balancing production versus harvesting needs for the entire state. There are all different kinds of paper, and different types of trees make different types of paper. Different types of trees populate different parts of the state and this holds true for different parts of the country as well. To oversimplify, hardwoods for example in the lower peninsula are the primary specie since the white pines systems were cut away, and the virgin pulp and paper mills in the lower peninsula utilize these hardwoods, and thus would be interested in the forests of their immediate area, and in the access and allowances for cutting in those areas. This is the case for Menasha, which only uses hardwoods for production of corrugating medium (the hardwoods are 30% of what we use, the other 70% is recycled). In the northern areas of the state, where softwoods are obviously the more prominent, the same question would hold true: Are the levels of cutting there "adequate" in the vicinity of a mill to support production of the softwood types of paper produced there? In general yes this question can be asked of an entire state when setting policy I suppose, and then the entire argument can ensue between how much can/should be cut in general, and the melee can go on if we want to frame it that way.
Additionally, older mills, such as the GP mill, do get "squeezed out" of production over time by the newer mills, and over time, in the short run ( a matter of a few year span), over production of paper in various parts of the industry does occur for brief periods of time, just as with oil, grain, clothing, TV sit coms or anything else. Demand always catches up. Always.
In any event, for individual mills, in an area where they are producing and doing well in their segment, and overproduction of their grade of paper is not an issue, they may very well need additional harvest of trees. It is simply not possible to pick one statement from a sound bite on a subject, not understanding the market, the industry, the science or technology of the system, and generalize it to all paper, and make it the entirety of the argument, and then utilize one paper mill closure as the poster child for that entire argument.
I just want to point out how it really works in terms of how mills utilize trees as a resource, and, to highlight how unfortunate it is that GP went out of business. Anyone who is perhaps glad that another paper mill is going out of business can feel that way obviously, but remember that  the GP mill used recycled paper to make it's paper. Somewhere else that production will most likely be made up with virgin pulp coming from trees - which is necessary from the standpoint of keeping a fresh flow of "new" fiber into the paper stream. Frankly from my personal perspective, as long as it is done environmentally soundly, with many natural spaces permanently preserved, balanced wisely with the future in mind - so sustainably, and aesthetically, I believe both virgin and recycled paper production are sound and needed. I fully recognize that there are many different views, and many that disagree, and that's fine, but I wanted to weigh in on the GP closing to the timber harvest argument in this state, and remind us collectively to not make light of a mill closing, and of a lot of people losing their livelihoods, by using the closing to bolster the side for-limiting-timber-harvest argument.
Thanks for your time reading this. I hope it helps create dialogue in any case. I welcome any considered, constructively stated responses from anyone out there who wishes to respond genuinely from their perspective. I am interested in hearing others ideas.
David Merkel
David W. Merkel
Technical Manager
Paperboard Division
Menasha Corporation
320 North Farmer Street
Otsego  MI, 49078
phone: 616-692-6859
         (or) david.merkel@menasha.com

>>> "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@prodigy.net> 12/15/00 03:13PM >>>
Enviro-Mich message from "Anne M. Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@prodigy.net>

Kalamazoo is about to lose a G-P paper mill, according to Bloomberg, "to
lower costs amid a glut of paper".  Funny how the Michigan timber corps
insist we aren't cutting enough wood, yet evidently there is too much paper
being produced.  AW

>Georgia-Pacific to Shut Down Paper Mill, Fire 285 Employees
>(Bloomberg)  -- Georgia-Pacific Group, the second-largest North American
>lumber and paper company, said it will shut two paper-making machines and
>fire 285 workers in Michigan, to lower costs amid a glut of paper.
>The machines in Kalamazoo, which can make about 130,000 tons of paper a
>year for catalogs and textbooks, will be closed Dec. 22, the company said
>in a statement. A mill there that makes pulp, the main ingredient in
>paper, also will be shuttered.

>Shares of Georgia-Pacific rose 25 cents to $26.56. They've dropped 48
>percent this year.
>Dec/12/2000 16:36 ET
>   For more stories from Bloomberg News,  <A
> HREF="aol://4344:30.BLOOMBRG.5288278.602602747"> click here .
>  (C) Copyright 2000 Bloomberg L.P....

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