Updated: State Approves Changes For Domtar

Lawmakers want to give a Canadian paper company up to $9 million to help it retool its paper mill in eastern North Carolina.

The House voted 72-41 Monday for final approval that would give Montreal-based Domtar Corp. the money supporters said was needed to keep the company from laying off 320 employees at its Plymouth
plant. A state Commerce Department official said they are paid an
average salary of about $70,000 a year.

Domtar plans to stop making white office paper at the plant in favor of turning the area's loblolly pine trees into the absorbent fluff used in diapers. Supporters say more than 1,000 additional logging jobs in eastern North Carolina are at risk if the Domtar plant shuts down.

A similar bill failed in the House last week.

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The state approved changes to a grant fund that will allow Domtar to make the conversion from paper to fluff to save the hundreds of jobs

Martin County Manager Russell Overman says the measure passed 72 to 41.

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A major employer in the East is in danger of shutting its doors and putting hundred of people out of work in an already tough economy.
But in an unusual Sunday meeting, the Martin County Commissioners passed a resolution they hope will keep Domtar afloat.

The Domtar paper plant near Plymouth is looking at converting the plant from making white office paper to making absorbent fluff used in diapers. Domtar already shut down one of its two paper lines this year.

The commissioners passed a resolution to give Domtar an economic development investment grant to make the conversion from paper to fluff to save the hundreds of jobs and the taxes the company supplies to the area. The resolution says Martin County will provide up to 75 percent of Ad Valoream taxes paid on a new investment over a five year period, as an economic development investment grant.

The State House rejected a plan to invest $10 million in Domtar's plan to convert its plant, which the company says is a $65 million project.

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