Tester Stands with Columbia Falls Families and Demands Answers from Weyerhaeuser

Senator Holds Lumber Company Accountable to Families in the Flathead

(Helena, Mont.)-Weeks after holding a roundtable discussion with community leaders, Senator Jon Tester is demanding answers from Weyerhaeuser regarding the closure of its lumber and plywood mills in Columbia Falls.

In a letter to Weyerhaeuser President and CEO Doyle Simons, Tester said he wants specific answers to questions that have been raised by local families, businesses, and elected officials.

“When a company this size decides to pack up and leave town, it has a ripple effect that can be felt across the entire region,” Tester said after sending the letter. “We must do everything we can to support the community of Columbia Falls and hold Weyerhaeuser accountable for its decision to layoff families in the Flathead. There is so much economic potential in the area and by working together we can ensure folks have good paying jobs.”

Weyerhaeuser’s decision to close its Columbia Falls mills will eliminate up to 100 jobs in the community, and force an additional 130 employees to commute to its mills in Evergreen.

During his roundtable with community leaders, Tester promised to hold Weyerhaeuser accountable to local residents and help identify resources to help the employees who have been laid off find new jobs.

Tester also urged Weyerhaeuser to follow in the steps of its predecessor, the Plum Creek Timber Company, and continue to allow public access on its forested land.

Tester asked Simons for a timely response to the following questions:

  • Are there any proposed plans for further reductions at any of Weyerhaeuser’s Montana facilities?
  • How many employees from the Columbia Falls mills will be offered shifts at the Evergreen facilities?
  • Can the folks who are offered jobs at a different facility expect the same salary and benefits as their former job provided?
  • Is Weyerhaeuser going to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance grants?
  • What does the company plan to do with the administration building in Columbia Falls?
  • What does Weyerhaeuser plan to do with the property and facilities of the recently closed plywood and lumber mills?
  • Does Weyerhaeuser plan to fund the environmental impact study at the recently shuttered plywood and lumber mills?
  • Does Weyerhaeuser plan on completing the “Pit to Park” Class 3 landfill project and applying for closure?

A full copy of Tester’s letter to Simons is available HERE.