Crandall says paper industry still vital part of state’s economy, Maine Public reports

Maine Public reported the death of Maine’s pulp and paper industry is highly exaggerated, according to a preliminary report by Mindy Crandall, an assistant professor of Forest Management and Economics at the University of Maine. Crandall told those attending a Forest Resources Association meeting in Brewer that despite the closing of eight major biomass power generators and paper companies, forest products are still a vital component of Maine’s overall economy, according to the report. “We tend to hear a lot of the bad press about the forest products industry and we sort of don’t take into account the real historical view,” Crandall said. “The fact is we’re in about the same historical position in terms of its economic impact and value as we were in 2011. So yeah, some mills have closed and some of those were big important mills, but the mills that are still remaining tend to employ a lot more people and have a lot more output than the ones that have closed.” Crandall said her preliminary findings suggest that despite the loss of 1,800 jobs in the papermaking and biomass energy sectors, the forest products industry will have a 2016 sales output of $8.5 billion, compared to $9.8 billion in 2014, Maine Public reported.