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The Rachel Carson Council is a nationwide membership organization that engages and empowers our supporters to take effective action in communities and campuses at the local, state, and national level. With the leadership of our President and CEO, Dr. Robert K. Musil, the RCC is a respected voice for policy change in the nation’s capital.

In addition to our work on Capitol Hill, the RCC currently focuses its organizing at the grassroots level in North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsyvania.


Recent Action Alerts

Tell Congress to Stop Styrofoam! 03-28-24

Good news! Legislators are taking your concerns about Big Plastic’s continued disregard for environmental and public health seriously. Introduced in December by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), the Farewell to Foam Act would ban all single-use expanded polystyrene (EPS) products, including foodware, by January 2026! Passage would mark a major reduction in plastic pollution and a victory for environmental protection.


NO green energy tax incentives for wood pellets! 01-29-24

The biomass industry is at it again, this time gearing up to take advantage of clean energy tax credits. Wood bioenergy sources such as wood pellets have often been touted as one of the exciting forms of renewable energy that will help usher in a new era of carbon neutrality. Nothing be further from the truth.

Research shows that burning wood pellets actually produces more carbon emissions at the smokestack than fossil fuels like coal. But wood pellet production companies like Enviva still receive millions in state tax credits across the southeastern region and often draw from taxpayer dollars to fund their operations and facilities.


Tell your Council Member to Stop Dangerous Pipelines! 01-27-24

Just days ago, we saw the damage that gas power can wreak on a community. A gas explosion in Southeast DC sent one person to the hospital and destroyed several local businesses.

But Washington Gas is still pushing forward with their dangerous Project Pipes, a multi-billion dollar project that will lock DC into using fossil fuels for decades. Tell your Council Member to stand up for a fossil-free future and tell the Public Service Commission to REJECT Project Pipes.

 


Join us on Friday to Protest Formosa Plastics’ Environmental Injustices! 01-11-24

Formosa Plastics is at it again. The petrochemical behemoth has once again targeted the St. James Parish in Louisiana to build a multi-billion dollar plastics plant. The St. James Parish, located in the heart of Cancer Alley, has already once defeated Formosa Plastics from further overburdening their community. Let’s help them do it again. Join the Rachel Carson Council and Rise St. James tomorrow January 12 at noon in front of the White House to demand justice for all victims of Formosa Plastics.

The rally in front of the White House will expose how Formosa Plastics is responsible for severely violating environmental justice, health, and human rights issues at home in Texas and Louisiana—and abroad in Vietnam.


Stop DC Gas Pipelines 12-18-24

Washington Gas has asked the DC Public Service Commission for $672 million to continue investing in dirty and dangerous natural gas pipelines. Help the Rachel Carson Council and our colleagues at CCAN to stand up against this economic and environmental disaster by telling our Commissioners not to keep funding this pipeline and instead to invest in a renewable energy future.

 


Community Efforts

RCC Cape Fear River Trip Exposes Enviva 10-03-23

The Cape Fear Riverboat, the Henrietta, hits its whistle and pulls out from the historic waterfront into a strong current in the open river. It is cold, cloudy and breezy this Saturday morning in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Cape Fear River has seen enslaved Africans working rice fields here before the Civil War until the rice trade collapsed with the end of the war. Now the riversides mix wetlands, stands of trees, some industrial sprawl from the Port of Wilmington, and hide one of the worst, yet least known, causes of climate change pollution.

 

The Sampson County Public Hearing on Wood Pellets and the Industry that Divided It

On July 15, 2019 environmentalists and community members from across the state of North Carolina and visitors from Virginia and the United Kingdom showed up and gave public testimony against the proposed expansion of Enviva Sampson, an industrial wood pellet producer. Their words spoke truth to power, and the message was clear – North Carolinians want an end to the wood pellet industry in their state.

As detailed in our 2019 report, Clear Cut, Enviva has entrenched itself in North Carolina. It is a part of a system which harms the environment, perpetuates injustices against frontline groups, and divides communities under the guise of economic development.

Returning Home?

Eastern North Carolina and its beautiful coast has and always will be home to me. I work now for the Rachel Carson Council (RCC) in Washington, DC, but this past week, I was able to return home to continue critical work being done by the RCC and others to protect the unique environments and communities that also call the area home. Growing up in North Carolina, respect and awe for the natural world around me were instilled from an early age. I remember warm summer nights with the constant hum of cicadas when I would stay up to the wee hours of the morning to watch for sea turtle hatchlings boiling out of the sand and scramble to the safety of the ocean. I remember taking back country roads and driving for miles with nothing but lush forests on either side of the road

Environmental advocates discuss wood pellet industry’s impact on humans and the environment

Environmental advocacy groups gathered Friday to discuss the impact of the wood pellet industry on climate and public health during a boat ride on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington. People from groups including the Rachel Carson Council, Carolina Wetlands Association, NAACP, Alliance for Cape Fear Trees, Wood Pellet Forum, Cape Fear Sierra Club, and Clean Air Carolina attended. Dr. Kyle Horton, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, was also in attendance. The boat travelled past wood pellet dome silos maintained by Enviva. The boat travelled past wood pellet dome silos maintained by Enviva, a company that bills itself as the world’s largest producer of wood pellets.

Don’t Burn Trees to Fight Climate Change—Let Them Grow

Of all the solutions to climate change, ones that involve trees make people the happiest. Earlier this year, when a Swiss study announced that planting 1.2 trillion trees might cancel out a decade’s worth of carbon emissions, people swooned (at least on Twitter). And last month, when Ethiopian officials announced that twenty-three million of their citizens had planted three hundred and fifty million trees in a single day, the swooning intensified. Someone tweeted, “This should be like the ice bucket challenge thing.” So it may surprise you to learn that, at the moment, the main way in which the world employs trees to fight climate change is by cutting them down and burning them. Across much of Europe, countries and utilities are meeting their carbon-reduction targets by importing wood pellets from the southeastern United States and burning them in place of coal: giant ships keep up a steady flow of wood across the Atlantic.

Northampton County, NC: More Enviva Expansion?

On August 20, The Rachel Carson Council (RCC) called yet again for environmentalists, activists and community members to provide testimony for the third proposed expansion of an Enviva plant in North Carolina in less than a year. The Northampton County Enviva plant is seeking to grow its operations to produce 780,000 tons of wood pellets per year. That equals approximately 18,000 acres of forestland destruction in North Carolina and Virginia. At a time when the climate crisis is getting worse, and with clear science showing the destructive nature of the wood pellet industry, such expansions are absolutely unacceptable.

The Enviva Southampton Plant & Enviva’s Fourth Expansion in a Year

In an unsurprising turn of events, Enviva has applied for its fourth expansion permit in under a year for its Southampton Plant located in Franklin, Virginia. This expansion would increase production by 246,000 tons per year equaling another 5,600 acres of forests cut down annually. This is unacceptable. We are on the precipice of climate disaster, and the only tried and true way to draw down carbon from the atmosphere is through the protection and expansion of biodiverse forests. Every week, more reports and investigations are demonstrating that forests are key to any climate solution and that the wood pellet industry is failing to properly source its materials, failing to protect communities’ health, and worsening our climate through its operations.