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Pulp & Paper Industry Advocates Attend Annual Event in U.S. Capital

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Categories: Industry Insights
Industry advocates like Ashdown Mill employee Jennifer Beard met with lawmakers, including Senator John Boozman. Image description: Jennifer Beard, an Ashdown Mill employee (on the left), is pictured with Senator John Boozman on the right. They are in a room with other people in the background
PHOTO: Industry advocates like Ashdown Mill employee Jennifer Beard met with lawmakers, including Senator John Boozman, who represents Arkansas in the U.S. Senate. (Credit: AF&PA/Jamie Tiralla)

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Five Domtar employees representing four mills joined 72 pulp and paper workers from across the United States met in Washington, D.C. to attend the Pulp & Paperworkers’ Resource Council’s annual fly-in. Together, these industry advocates represented 13 companies from 53 locations across 18 states. The PPRC is a grassroots organization of hourly employees in the forest products industry. Each year, it brings pulp and paper workers to the capital to speak with members of Congress and administrative officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies about issues affecting American manufacturing jobs in the industry. 

Attending on Domtar’s behalf were Joe Jordan and Allen Lynn from the Plymouth Mill, Scott Cherry from the Johnsonburg Mill, Jennifer Beard from the Ashdown Mill and Cindy Czappa from the Nekoosa Mill. During the event, our industry advocates met with lawmakers and elected officials to educate them on issues that impact our industry. 

“We’re very proud to continue to support the PPRC fly-in,” says Steve Henry, Paper Excellence Group paper and packaging president. “It’s a terrific opportunity for our nation’s legislators to hear directly from the pulp and paper industry workforce. We should never underestimate the weight the voice of the pulp and paper industry workforce carries in Washington, D.C.” 

This year, industry advocates made 535 visits with members of Congress and administrative officials to discuss the effects of legislative and regulatory decisions on the environment and on people who make their living in forest products manufacturing. 

Among the visits, Beard and Czappa met with their mill’s congressional representatives and U.S. senators from their states. Czappa met with Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Arizona Representative Paul Gosar. Beard met with Arkansas Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, as well as Arkansas Representatives Bruce Westerman and Rick Crawford. 

“Our annual Washington, D.C., fly-in provides the PPRC with an impactful opportunity to visit with congressional and administration leaders on environmental issues impacting our industry — especially on topics like renewable biomass energy and its carbon neutrality, paper recycling, air regulations and their impact on permitting, as well as forest management,” says PPRC Chairman Matt Hall. “The importance of clear, common-sense legislation and regulatory policy cannot be understated, as that foundation is vital to supporting continued growth of manufacturing jobs in rural and urban communities and ensuring a competitive playing field for the American forest products industry in the global market.” 

PPRC representatives and industry advocates discussed several issues with members of Congress, advocating for sensible legislation and regulations in the areas of: 

  • Air permitting 
  • Forest management 
  • Recycling  
  • Endangered Species Act  
  • Beneficial use of paper mill residuals 
  • Renewable biomass  
  • Water quality  
  • Logistics of forest products 

Beard says she can personally relate to the topics being discussed because many of them pertain directly to her job as an environmental lab technician at the Ashdown Mill. 

“I enjoyed it a lot,” she says. “All the issues are bipartisan. It felt like we gained support from both sides, because the topics apply to all of us, not just union or non-union; or Democrats or Republicans.” 

In addition to the meetings in congressional and administrative offices, the PPRC representatives attended a reception hosted by the American Forest & Paper Association. There, the industry advocates thanked the members of Congress who have joined the paper and packaging caucus, as well as those members who attended the caucus congressional reception on January 30. 

Learn more about how Domtar industry advocates champion pulp and paper manufacturing: