TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson issued the following statement regarding the closing of the Georgia-Pacific Foley Cellulose Facility in Taylor County:
“Today, I spoke with top executives at Georgia-Pacific to discuss the devastating decision to close the Foley Cellulose Facility in Taylor County. While there is never a good time to lose a major employer, particularly in a rural county, this news could not come at a worse time for families devastated by Hurricane Idalia.
The decision is final and cannot be reversed. We were not informed in advance, but I can confirm that there were no state laws, regulations, or economic conditions within state control that contributed to the shutdown. According to their leadership, the macroeconomic conditions resulted in another business casualty.
While Georgia-Pacific cannot make the numbers work for their corporation, they are willing sellers. As a state leader, I would welcome another investor or company to come in and take over operations. There are many economic incentives available, and Florida has an excellent climate for business. I challenge anyone to find harder working people than those in Taylor and surrounding counties.
To Georgia-Pacific, I have asked that they do all they can to assist with finding jobs for the hundreds that are displaced. This will not only impact the direct employees, but the many industries that are a part of the complex network supporting the operation such as loggers, truckers, and other essential workers.
I would ask that Georgia-Pacific look for ways to go above and beyond on severance pay and insurance assistance. The people of Taylor and surrounding counties are hurting and need a glidepath.”