Maine’s House majority leader on Friday called on Gov. Paul LePage’s office to work with a federal team deployed to the state to help its forest products industry develop a long-term economic plan.

“Saving our forest products and pulp and paper industries is a critical issue for rural Maine,” Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, said in a statement released Friday morning as the federal team wrapped up its three-day visit to the state at Sappi North America paper mill in Skowhegan. “No single one of us has the solution all by ourselves, so we need the governor and his staff to join us to get this done. We all need to work together as a team to fight for these jobs.”

The Economic Development Assessment Team was formed at the request of Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins after Madison Paper Industries shut down in May, becoming the state’s fifth paper mill to close in two years and casting doubt about the future of the state’s forest products industry.

Economic development teams are modeled after the national Disaster Recovery Framework and have been deployed 30 times in their 40-year history, including to address the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the collapse of New England’s fisheries.

The federal effort also comes with $7.7 million to invest in the forest products industry and to support and track the results of the team’s visit to Maine. Composed of more than two dozen federal officials from eight agencies, the team arrived in Maine on Wednesday in an effort to gain an understanding of the industry’s assets and challenges.

The state’s congressional delegation is part of the team, but no state government officials are. The Maine planning committee is made up of representatives from the private sector.

Officials from the team agreed Friday that collaboration will be key as their work continues, and shrugged off remarks LePage and his top forest products adviser made indicating that the state wouldn’t be joining the effort.

“(LePage) has always worked with the industry and he’s been a champion of it, so I don’t see that changing,” said Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council and co-chairman of the team planning committee. “When the industry needs resources, we always work with federal and state agencies. That’s not going to change.”

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine said Friday that his agency has been in communication with the state and there has “been good correspondence between (U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny) Pritzker and the governor.”

When the team’s formation was announced in July, LePage, in a letter to Pritzker, called the effort “another failed stimulus package” that will only provide “false hope” for the state’s forest industry. He also said it will be impossible for the state to find common ground with the commerce department until it reconsiders tariffs that were put on Canadian paper imports in December.

On Thursday, LePage’s top forest products adviser, Rosaire Pelletier, said he wasn’t aware of the goals and plans of the economic team and that he personally has no plans to work with it and would wait to see what it comes up with.

LePage’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, and his director of communications, Peter Steele, did not respond to requests for comment.

On Friday, team officials reiterated the need for collaboration, but said they were not concerned about LePage’s stance.

Yellow Light Breen, president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation and co-chairman with Strauch of the EDAT planning committee, said he considers LePage’s letter to mean “the administration is taking a wait-and-see approach, which is fine.”

“We know they’re invested in the forest products sector,” he said. “Once this results in something really tangible, it will need to be all hands on deck.”

Officials on the federal team and the Maine planning committee said that the visit had been productive and a good starting point for developing initiatives to help the struggling industry.

Officials said the involvement of federal agencies will continue for the next three years with the development of an “action plan” and specific goals for the industry.

Collins, King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin issued a joint statement Friday that thanked the commerce department and members of the team for their efforts during the three-day visit and said their work is “an important first step and the beginning of a longer-term process among industry, local stakeholders, and federal agencies that can revitalize this critical pillar of our economy.”

The statement did not mention the response from state government. Representatives for Collins, King and Poliquin did not respond to questions about the involvement of state government in the process.

McCabe thanked Maine’s congressional delegation “for helping to bring this federal team here to find ways to make our rural economy stronger.”

“Where I live, people’s jobs and way of life are at stake, and so many have already lost so much,” he said.