Enviva

Environmental Injustice: 15 advocates arrested outside Gov mansion

woodpellets.jpg

One person's economic gain is another person's health problem:

The state is failing low-income communities with large African-American and Native American populations by allowing polluting industries to concentrate in their counties, a group of residents said Wednesday as they demanded that an environmental justice advisory board do more to advocate for them.

Opponents of Enviva, a company that produces wood pellets by the ton for export, the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, coal ash disposal sites, and industrial agriculture said the DEQ is watching out for industries and not the people who live near those operations.

Environmental justice issues have plagued minority communities since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and very few improvements have been made to this day. Government has, for the most part, ignored the formula industry uses in site selection (cheap land, powerless people). And in many cases has actually taken an active role in the unfair process, via zoning and permitting practices. While I do support both Governor Cooper and Michael Regan, I also support this message:

Modified permit for Enviva exposes the sheer volume of NC trees that will be lost

woodpellets.jpg

Clear-cutting our forests to service a boondoggle in Europe:

Enviva Pellets Hamlet, LLC and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Air Quality (DAQ) on Monday reached a settlement with Clean Air Carolina (CAC) in which the wood pellet processing company agreed to a new round of measures to control emissions and to submit semi-annual output reports to CAC for review.

In January, Enviva modified its permit with the DAQ to allow it to increase its production of wood pellets from 537,625 oven-dried tons per year to 625,011 and to be reclassified as a minor source of pollution in exchange for adding new emission controls.

Bolding mine, because this method of calculation actually downplays the volume of trees this industry is consuming. In order to arrive at that "oven-dried" weight, several times that amount of green/wet wood is required. Enviva is clear-cutting some 50 acres of North Carolina forests every single day. Here's more from the Rachel Carlson Council:

Environmental Injustice: Public comment stifled on Richmond County Enviva project

Tearing down the forests is apparently not enough, now they're muzzling the opposition:

A press conference will be held by The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, a local citizen engagement group, to voice concerns about the health and environmental concerns of locating an Enviva wood pellet facility in this predominantly black community. Concerned residents have on multiple occasions attempted to address the county with their concerns, and have been repeatedly denied. On March 7th, the Richmond County Commissioners will hold their monthly meeting, and representatives from Enviva will appear to speak on the agenda. The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County have once again been denied the opportunity to speak during the public comment section.

Concerned citizens fear this facility will create harmful particulate matter and pollutants, will create constant noise and disrupt their quality of life, and clog up roads with dangerous truck traffic. The County has offered Enviva $1.6 million in direct cash incentives and property tax breaks of up to 85%, which residents oppose as a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

Press conference is this Tuesday (3/7), and there will be a rally March 25th. Please spread the word about both, because this issue touches on both deforestation and environmental justice, not to mention the stifling of public comment. The Richmond County Commissioners have set up pretty zany rules about what you can say and when:

Op-Ed on the devastation of the wood pellet industry

In which I take Steve Troxler to task:

Just looking at the hog industry alone, the sheer number of animals and the waste they produce here in North Carolina has created a water quality crisis that has crossed over into other industries that support tens of thousands of our fellow North Carolinians. Many fish in eastern North Carolina are no longer edible, and massive fish kills are becoming more frequent. Which leads us to what Steve Troxler is not: an environmentalist. So when he starts bandying around terms like "renewable" and "sustainable," it gets my antennas waving a little bit.

Using woody biomass in place of coal to fire the steam generators in power plants is relatively new. I had a debate with an N.C. State grad student several years ago about this very thing, and he assured me (because he had been assured) there was more than enough scruffy byproduct from land development to scratch this particular itch. I tried to explain to him the sheer volume needed would soon have us chopping down healthy trees to keep the supply flowing. I wish I had been wrong, but I wasn't.

Please hop the link and go read the whole thing at the Fayetteville Observer. The more traffic articles like this get, the more likely they will publish other opinions of a similar nature in the future.

Greenwashing on the cheap: Enviva's miniscule conservation grants

woodpellets.jpg

Look at that cute little forest over there:

Maryland-based Enviva, criticized by environmentalists for mills that make wood pellets to be burned as fuel in European power plants, said Wednesday it is spending $295,000 for grants that will help two conservation groups protect bottomland forests in North Carolina.

The Triangle Land Conservancy will receive $100,000 to help acquire a conservation easement on 127 wooded acres near Beaverdam Lake and the Neuse River east of Raleigh. The Nature Conservancy North Carolina chapter will receive $195,000 toward the $935,000 purchase of 1,294 acres of forested wetlands on the Roanoke River in Washington County.

If anybody reading this is on the boards or otherwise associated with these two (great) non-profits, please try to focus on the big picture. And that big picture is missing hundreds of thousands of acres of forests in the Southeast already, and NC hardwoods are being chopped up at an alarming rate:

Subscribe to RSS - Enviva