Rep. Luanne Van Werven issues statement on the closure of Intalco Works smelter
State Rep. Luanne Van Werven issued the following statement today regarding Alcoa’s announcement they will be shutting down the Intalco Works aluminum smelter near Ferndale by the end of July:
“This is a very difficult time and concerning situation for Whatcom County. My heart goes out to the working families at Intalco, However, this is not over. I’m going to be fighting alongside Sen. Doug Ericksen and other elected officials at all levels of government and will be exhausting all options to keep Intalco open. We simply cannot allow 700 family-wage jobs to disappear from our region. For 54 years Intalco has been a cornerstone of Whatcom County.
“The company and employees have made vital contributions to our local economy. The donations to Whatcom County non-profits and hours of volunteer service projects are beyond measure. The tax revenue Intalco has provided to the county and state is substantial and would be difficult to replace.
“We fought hard at the state level for Intalco in the past, including $3 million for workforce retraining in 2016 when the plant was threatened with curtailment. In 2018 we secured $2 million to begin upgrading to a point feed project on their pot lines to decrease carbon emissions.
“This is not just about the smelter. It is about families, our Whatcom County communities and our local economy. I met with Intalco workers and their families Thursday to hear their concerns and find a path forward to keep the plant operational.
“I do not view this as the end of Intalco Works, but the beginning of a critical time ahead of us, as we work toward solutions to keep these jobs and families here, in Whatcom County.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications