This is a sad day for Camas and Southwest Washington. The paper mill is what built Camas. For generations, the mill has provided a steady paycheck for mortgage payments, car payments, putting food on the table, raising children and creating a stable economy for a better life in our region.
Many of my friends, including my brother, have built their careers working at the Camas mill. This is very personal for me, my neighbors and local businesses — many who have relied upon the income which has flowed through our community from the mill.
I’m very proud in recent years that Georgia-Pacific has invested in the Camas mill to ensure it exceeds environmental standards. They’ve spent tens of millions of dollars to create clean emissions and a clean plant. As a result, Camas has become a very desirable place to live and Georgia-Pacific has been a very good neighbor and employer.
However, this closure should serve as a wake-up call to our elected leaders that we must work harder to foster job-retention and development in Washington state or we’re going to lose more manufacturers and the family-wage jobs they create.
Georgia-Pacific has recognized that with the additional water and air standards foisted upon them from Olympia, and the possibility of new carbon taxes and more regulations, its future is limited in our state. The sad reality is that it’s more economical for Georgia-Pacific to expand existing operations in Louisiana where the business climate is more favorable, than to fight a losing battle here in Washington state.
Over the years, extreme environmental regulations along Washington’s coast decimated the timber industry. We’ve nearly lost Boeing. Alcoa has shuddered its Wenatchee aluminum plant and reduced its Ferndale operations. Amazon is looking elsewhere for another headquarters. And now my community will have to find ways to move forward without hundreds of mill jobs. When will we finally understand that the more roadblocks handed down from Olympia, the more manufacturers and other employers will vote with their feet? It’s time our state leaders recognize this latest canary in the coal mine and begin working to keep jobs in Washington, rather than incentivizing our employers to seek greener pastures.”
Rep. Liz Pike
State House of Representative member representing the
18th Legislative District and has announced plans to run
for Clark County Council chair next year.