Georgia-Pacific officials take part in negotiations

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AUGUSTA (AP) – Georgia-Pacific Corp. officials flew from Atlanta for talks with a private investor group and the state about the future of the company’s Old Town mill, but the talks did not yield a final agreement, the Baldacci administration said Wednesday.

The parties reached middle ground on several key issues, and G-P officials returned to Atlanta to flesh out the details of the solution, said Jack Cashman, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Talks were expected to resume in a matter of days.

“We all know that we have to get this done soon, because people’s lives are in the balance here,” Cashman said.

Georgia-Pacific announced on March 15 that it would be shutting down its pulp and paper mill, which has employed 400 people.

Gov. John Baldacci issued a statement Wednesday calling the talks on the future of the company’s Old Town mill productive. The statement offered supportive but general comments from a Georgia-Pacific spokesman.

“It was a good meeting and productive discussion,” said GP’s Robert Burns. “Each side has a better understanding of the issues and both parties are working toward a win-win solution. Gaps have narrowed, but there is still work to do.”

Cashman said the administration wants to get the negotiations concluded as soon possible. “We either got to get the deal done or say it can’t happen. We can’t string people along,” he said.


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