Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, the state’s chief jobs creation officer, is sending a flurry of letters to companies across the nation, including Wal-Mart, that are threatening to cut off business with Virginia-based Mercury Paper.
Mercury Paper, a subsidiary of Asia-based Sinar Mas Group, one of the world’s leading pulp and paper companies, expanded its Shenandoah County facility last year, relocating its North American headquarters to the site, creating 150 jobs and investing $21.2 million. (The state spent $250,000 to lure the company here.)
But the environmental group Greenpeace wrote in a report that the company destroys rainforests, causes species extinction and threatens efforts to deal with climate change.
“Mercury Paper now finds itself in the unenviable position of having to defend against unfounded attacks that do nothing to benefit their employees, the local community or the economic well-being of our state,’’ Bolling (R) wrote to Wal-Mart last month. “We wanted you to know that we support Mercury Paper, and we hope you will support them as well and reject the unfounded attacks that have been initiated against them by Greenpeace.”
Several companies, including Nestle, Kimberly-Clark and Kraft, have removed Sinar Mas from their supply chains. The U.S. Department of Commerce last year imposed tariffs on Mercury’s parent company after finding that it dumped paper on the U.S. market.