BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Boise Cascade Corp. (NYSE: BCC) announced today the permanent closure of the company's plywood and lumber operations and cogeneration facility in Emmett, Idaho, and its sawmill in Cascade, Idaho. The facilities will close by midyear 2001, said George J. Harad, Boise Cascade's chairman of the board and chief executive officer, who cited the steady decline in federal timber sales as the cause of the closures. "I am very disappointed that we are forced to take this step," Harad said. "Idaho is the corporate home of Boise Cascade. The Idaho Region of our building products business has been a profitable contributor to our company. Our mills in the region have long been a vital mainstay of rural communities in southern Idaho. However, we simply no longer have an adequate and reliable supply of timber from Idaho's federal forests with which to operate our mills. We deeply regret the hardship that this decision will create for our employees and the burden it will place on the communities in which they live." Harad continued, "We have worked for years to promote an understanding at the federal level that the national forests can and should provide dependable and sustainable resources for Idaho's forest industry, while meeting all of their environmental objectives. However, despite an adequate supply of timber, under the policies of the Clinton Administration and pressure from environmental groups, the amount of timber offered for commercial harvest has declined more than 90% over the past five years." Additionally, Harad said, "Intensive litigation and appeals by environmental groups, such as the Idaho Sporting Congress, have in many cases prevented us from harvesting the timber we've already purchased. Unfortunately, we do not believe this situation will change anytime soon." Approximately 375 positions will be eliminated as a result of the closures, including about 275 at the Emmett facility, 80 at the Cascade sawmill, and 20 additional forestry and administrative positions. The laminated beam facility in Emmett, which is currently increasing its production capacity, and the RiverBend remanufacturing facility in Horseshoe Bend will both continue to operate. Emmy Guthrie, Idaho region manager for Boise Cascade, said, "Boise Cascade will work with our employees and with community leaders to determine what can be done to mitigate the impact of these closures. We will look for opportunities to offer positions elsewhere in the company to some of the affected employees. Severance pay will be provided to others in accordance with company policies and the terms of our labor contracts. Additionally, we will coordinate with the Idaho State Department of Employment to offer help in the areas of job training, skills assessment, and job search and placement." The closures will mark the end of nearly all of Boise Cascade's wood products manufacturing operations in Idaho. At one time, Boise Cascade also operated mills in McCall, Council, and Horseshoe Bend. Boise Cascade will continue to have a significant presence in the state with a total of over 1,300 employees at its corporate headquarters, corrugated container plants, office products and building materials distribution facilities, trucking operations, and the RiverBend and laminated beam plants in Horseshoe Bend and Emmett, respectively. The company will also continue to manage the 196,000 acres of timberland it owns in southern Idaho. With the scheduled closures, Boise Cascade's wood products operations in North America will consist of seven plywood plants, seven sawmills, three engineered wood products plants, and an oriented strand board plant. Boise Cascade Corp., headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is a major distributor of office products and building materials and an integrated manufacturer and distributor of paper and wood products. The company owns and manages more than 2 million acres of timberland in the United States. A leader in sustainable forestry, Boise Cascade uses third-party audits and an advisory council of independent experts in its Forest Stewardship Program to ensure the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, and air and water quality. Visit the Boise Cascade web site at http://www.bc.com.
SOURCE Boise Cascade Corp.