U.S. Forests Are Being Devastated to Supply Biomass Energy Industry, Report Finds

A clear-cut section of forested wetland in North Carolina. The logs were brought to Enviva’s facility in Southampton, Virginia to be made into wood pellets. NRDC

Forests in the U.S. Southeast are being devastated by demand for wood pellets to power biomass energy plants in Europe and Japan, according to a new investigation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Dogwood Alliance, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

According to the report, mature, native hardwood forests in places like North Carolina, Virginia, and along the Gulf Coast are being clear-cut, with whole trees and other large-diameter wood then trucked to processing mills run by Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet producer. These pellets are then being shipped to power plants such as Drax Power Station in the United Kingdom, Ørsted biomass facilities in Denmark, and increasingly to generating stations in Japan. According to the UN’s biodiversity report released last month, forests in the U.S. Southeast are being logged at four times the rate as those in the Amazon. 06-18-19

Read more at Yale Environment 360