Governor Cooper: North Carolina Forests Demand Action

To be a champion for communities and the climate, a leader must stand up and make tough decisions when it really matters. For too many years, Enviva has been allowed to expand unchecked in North Carolina, with three existing wood pellet facilities and one on the way.

It is time for Governor Cooper to take a stand.

Governor Cooper: We call on you to stand by your vision of clean air and a healthy environment as the path forward to a strong economy and healthy future. We call on you to stand for the environment, stand for justice, and stand for forests.

a group of activists rallying around the state capitol

The stakes are too high for Governor Cooper to remain on the sidelines.

In the past few years, North Carolina has been hit by floods, wildfires, and droughts.

Hurricane Matthew alone left at least 25 dead in North Carolina and caused upward of $1.5 billion in damage.

False solutions, like the industrial-scale wood pellet industry, are taking North Carolina further down a path of destruction and vulnerability.

The wood pellet industry, led by Enviva, has a proven record of sourcing in precious bottomland hardwood forests, increasing carbon emissions, and polluting communities. Yet this industry continues to expand unchecked. In just a few years, North Carolina has become ground zero for forest destruction at the hands of the wood pellet industry.

The Governor has remained silent as Enviva violated the Clean Air Act, openly disregarded their air quality permits, and clearcut the NC forests that protect our communities the most from climate change.

Standing forests are the only proven system that can remove and store vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere at the scale necessary to keep our planet livable. It is essential to not only prevent further emissions from fossil fuels, deforestation, forest degradation, and bioenergy, but also to expand our forests’ capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it long-term.

We’re counting on Governor Cooper to understand the gravity of these issues. We urge the Governor to develop a comprehensive climate strategy that includes clean energy and protection for North Carolina’s forests.

Specifically, we call on Governor Cooper to:

1. Initiate a North Carolina study to assess the cumulative impact of the industrial-scale wood pellet industry on forests, the climate, and communities. Until this study is completed, we call for:

  • No new industrial-scale wood pellet facilities.
  • A cap on expansion of existing wood pellet facilities.
  • Full compliance of existing facilities with with state and federal air quality standards.
  • No new taxpayer dollars to subsidize industrial-scale bioenergy.

2. Establish a commission on climate action that includes a focus on forests and resiliency.

  • Ensure that frontline communities and environmental advocacy groups have a seat at the table.
  • Use resilience mapping to identify and prioritize conservation and economic development projects in our state’s most vulnerable communities and valuable forest ecosystems.
  • Integrate rural economic development centered around forest protection into existing economic development and workforce readiness initiatives.

Our forests are the answer to the questions of solving the climate crisis, reimagining economic models, and rejuvenating the human spirit.

Forests need to be at the forefront of the agenda on climate action, community resilience, flood mitigation, water quality, and alternative rural economic development.

We cannot solve the climate crisis without a major scale-up in forest protection and restoration across the planet.

Governor Cooper, we believe in your vision for a strong and healthy state. North Carolina can lead the way in creating innovative solutions that uplift communities, create new markets, and remove vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. But it will mean taking a stand. We are eager to work with you to put North Carolina back on the path of leading the way for a prosperous and just future.

Sign the petition to urge Governor Cooper to develop a climate plan that includes forests

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