Our Forests Aren’t Fuel: The Wood Pellet Industry is Devastating Southern Forests and Communities

Today’s biggest threat to Southern forests is the expanding biomass industry. Despite the fact that deforestation is the third largest cause of carbon pollution just behind cars and power plants, European policy makers are promoting the burning of Southern forests for electricity to meet their “clean energy” targets. The wood pellet industry is expanding at a rate that is impossible for Southern forests to sustain. Our beautiful forests are being clear-cut, processed into pellets, and then shipped to Europe to be burned for electricity. Not only is the industry bad for our forests and our climates, but also for the communities living near the wood pellet facilities. The biomass industry, like many others, has disproportionately affected poor communities and communities of color. Deforestation in these communities leads to loss of flood control and erosion control, and threatens water quality. Additionally, the facilities detract from the quality of life of residents. Communities living near facilities have had to deal with dust and noise pollution, and an 100-200 trucks PER DAY coming in and out of the facility, creating increased traffic and road wear. Organizing techniques have thus far centered around communicating these realities to EU legislators, whose policies are driving the industry, and working with communities to pass local resolutions banning woody biomass.

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