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Logging industry yet to receive federal aid, dire predictions for workers

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 2:24 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Maine industries like fishing and farming have received some federal relief to help with COVID-19 impacts.

However, Maine’s logging industry has not.

The Professional Logging Contractors of Maine is anticipating a nearly 86-million dollar economic loss this year.

The pandemic has significantly reduced the available markets Maine companies can sell to.

The explosion earlier this year at the Pixell Mill in Jay compounded issues for loggers and truckers.

Maine’s congressional delegation has lobbied for federal aid, but none is forthcoming.

PLC is turning to the White House and the USDA for immediate help through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Maple syrup, cut flower, cotton, and wool producers are already eligible for relief under that program.

“We are working with the administration to try to convince them that loggers are farmers too, and therefore, they should be treated just like those other fiber products in terms of eligibility." says PLC Executive Director Dana Doran. "We’re not seeking a handout here. We’re seeking a lifeline. Without this lifeline, logging companies across Maine are going to go out of business, and it’s going to happen this fall, I can guarantee it.”

We’re told up to 900 jobs are at risk in the short term, and the long term viability of the regional industry may be at stake.

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