A new coalition has formed to support Virginia businesses, including Mercury Paper, from what it calls “unfounded attacks by out-of-state activist groups.’’
The move comes after Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, the state’s chief jobs creation officer, sent letters to companies across the nation, including Wal-Mart, that are threatening to cut off business with 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.
“This is an activist attack on Virginia’s working class,’’ said Mark Lloyd, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation. “If Wal-Mart, Kroger and other retailers cave to the ‘green’ elite, we will lose even more well-paying jobs for Virginian workers.”
The Coalition to Protect Virginia Jobs, which includes Americans for Prosperity Virginia and the Tea Party Patriot Federation, is trying to prevent retailers, including Costco and Kroger, from abandoning Mercury Paper.
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.
“Greenpeace is bullying leading retailers for offering American consumers high-quality, low-cost products made by Virginia’s own Mercury Paper Company,’’ said Audrey Jackson, state director for Americans for Prosperity.