Terre Haute mayor Kevin Burke says International Paper has deliberately stone-walled efforts by the city to save the company’s Terre Haute operations from shutting down. International Paper announced earlier this week that the 170 employee paperboard plant will officially close October 1st.
A press release from the company says that a recent internal study concluded that “Terre Haute’s limited production capacity hindered the mill’s long-term competitiveness.” Burke says the Terre Haute mill continues to be profitable, and that he had hoped the city could have facilitated the sale of the plant to another company to keep it in operation. Burke says those efforts have failed due to a lack of cooperation by International Paper.
Burke says the employees at Terre Haute’s International Paper mill have continued to work with professionalism in the months since they first heard that the plant may be closing. He says they have proven that the mill is profitable. International Paper spokesperson Amy Sawyer would not address Burke’s concerns directly, but she did reiterate the company’s position that the same factors that made the mill unviable for International Paper made the facility unattractive to other buyers as well.
Sawyer says the company’s priority now is to assist employees as they try to find new jobs.