Committee formed to examine plant closure's impact - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Committee formed to examine plant closure's impact

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The committee was formed at Tuesday's commission meeting. The committee was formed at Tuesday's commission meeting.
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Many unanswered questions remain following International Paper's decision to close its plant in Courtland. A new committee aims to find the answers.

The group is not working to bring in a new industry but could help others that will. The new committee formed to figure out all of the ramifications that will come once IP shuts down in March. It will be chaired by Lawrence County Commissioner Bobby Burch.

Burch proposed the committee at Tuesday's commission meeting. The six-member group will include school superintendent Heath Grimes, a former director of economic development, and County Commissioner Mose Jones Jr.

Some of what they will work to find out is how much tax money will come in as long as IP owns the land; what will be the tax revenue loss for the areas affected; and who is responsible for the cleanup of any environmental issues.

Burch said everyone knows losing IP will hurt the community, and now is the time to prepare.

"It's going to affect the county, the municipalities, the citizens of this county, and obviously the employees. And the revenue streams that were coming into the governments – we need to be able to project how they're going to be affected and how we'll be able to budget around this," Burch said.

Burch said the committee is designed to share information and work with other agencies like the Governor's office and the Department of Commerce, as they try to figure out how much of an impact IP's closure will have.

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