Press Release: Rising Up with Richmond County to Stop a Proposed Enviva Pellet Mill


‘Rising Up with Richmond County’ to Stop a New Proposed Enviva Wood Pellet Mill

New video and petition to Governor Cooper highlights the need to protect climate, forests and the frontline community in Richmond County NC facing its latest environmental injustice

Hamlet, North Carolina – The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County in eastern North Carolina and the regional conservation organization, Dogwood Alliance, are fighting a proposed new Enviva wood pellet mill in Hamlet, NC. The facility would be the latest environmental injustice to come to the area and would have lasting damaging impacts on the community’s climate, forests, and public health.

Today, the groups released ‘Rising Up with Richmond County,’ a short documentary that tells the story of the local communities’ struggle to stop the pellet mill, how they have been blocked at every turn from providing input, and why there is still reason to have hope. Accompanying the video is a new petition to Governor Cooper, asking him to stop the trajectory of destruction begun by the previous administration and revoke Enviva’s permit.

“Richmond County has been at the epicenter of environmental injustice in the state and Enviva’s wood pellet mill is the latest environmental and economic swindle facing the community,” said Emily Zucchino, Community Network Manager at Dogwood Alliance. “Not only will this mill decimate forests in the surrounding community, but it will also threaten public health, quality of life, and stands as a false solution to climate change.”

The wood pellet export market that has grown dramatically over the last few years is increasing pollution, degrading forests, and hinders sustainable economic development in rural Southern communities. Enviva, the world’s largest wood pellet exporter, already has three mills in the state, and the Richmond County facility would be its fourth. The state does not need another wood pellet export mill shipping valuable forests across the Atlantic to be burned in European power stations.

Wood pellets are not a green, clean climate-friendly fuel:

  • Accelerated logging of valuable wetland forests along rivers by Enviva has been well-documented and has been the subject of international media headlines.
  • Residents have documented that Enviva’s Sampson County NC facility has also increased harmful particulate matter in the air of the local community 75% over pre-operation levels.
  • The science is clear – the wood pellet industry is dirty and releases more carbon per unit of energy generated than coal.

“We hope Governor Cooper will respond to our call for environmental justice and revoke Enviva’s air permit, we were not provided the opportunity for input and this directly impacts us all” said Debra David, secretary of the Concerned Citizens of Richmond County. “Adding a wood pellet mill to CAFOs, dirty coal plants, and the potential for the Atlantic Coastal Pipeline would be a tragedy.”

“Rising Up with Richmond County” is available here

The petition to Governor Cooper is available here

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Based in Asheville, NC, Dogwood Alliance mobilizes diverse voices to protect Southern forests and communities from destructive industrial logging. The group’s Our Forests Aren’t Fuel campaign is part of an international coalition opposing industrial-scale forest biomass energy.

Concerned Citizens of Richmond County is a local environmental justice group who is advocate for clean air and water in Richmond County in Hamlet, N.C. They are a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.

Contact: Scot Quaranda, [email protected], 828.242.3596

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