Want to Protect Forests? Stop Burning Forests as Fuel

The biomass debate in the Netherlands continues to burn hot. For over two years, people have organized and protested against the country’s largest proposed biomass combustion plant slated to be built in Diemen, a small town just north of Amsterdam. Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company behind the project, is feverishly trying to show their business practices are “sustainable.” However, it’s fairly obvious that the public is not fooled: two major political parties do not support biomass, 800 scientists sent a letter to the EU commission, and even hundreds of children marched against Vattenfall Diemen last year.

Biomass combustion does not equate to carbon neutrality.

The solution to replacing coal is not to burn forests. The solution is to replace fossil fuels with low carbon sources, such as solar and wind. However, the Netherlands sets aside 14 billion Euros in subsidies for biomass plants and these incentives continue to fund the business practices of wood pellet producers like Enviva in the Southern United States. Enviva is reliant on “renewable energy” subsidies, even though there’s nothing clean nor green about burning wood pellets. Companies like Enviva and Vattenfall harm communities, forests, and the climate.

It is time to reinvest those precious subsides in proven, cost-effective, renewable energy sources that are clean and carbon-free.

A five day “Stop Vattenfall” tour against biomass will starts this February in the Netherlands. A moving billboard bus will make its way throughout the Netherlands. The tour will culminate in a court hearing against Vattenfall. Bringing forth this case are Clean Air Committee, Mobilization on the Environment, and Dutch Society for Nature Conservation. The hearing will occur along with a national demonstration against biomass power plants in Haarlem.

Vattenfall could be the first energy company to turn against the combustion of biomass. They could request the province of Noord-Holland immediately withdraw granted permits. If not, Vattenfall could face a customer boycott in favor of one of the five clean-energy suppliers. Vattenfall needs 200,000 tons of imported pellets needed every year. That demand threatens over 3,600 football-field’s-worth-of-forests every year.

Want to learn more? Check out this opinion piece in The Telegraaf: “How Sustainable are Vattenfall’s intentions?”

We need your help. Dogwood Alliance unites with Netherlands organizations to pressure Dutch parliament because our forests are cut down to fuel biomass energy in the Netherlands.

We need your voices. Speak up for why you want to protect forests in the Southern US! Biomass is bad for the climate, for our forests, and for communities. Take action today!

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