Statement: Wood Pellet Mill Stopped in Lumberton, NC

Facing immense community opposition and legal troubles, Active Energy Renewable Power (AERP) will not be moving forward with plans to operate a black wood pellet production facility in Robeson County, North Carolina.

AERP announced plans to sell the site of the proposed production facility, effectively ending its plans to build the controversial wood pellet facility.

Dogwood Alliance joins our partners in Robeson County and across North Carolina in celebrating the announcement. This is a victory for our forests, the climate, and the residents of North Carolina.

Jefferson Curie speaking at a press conference in Raleigh demanding wood pellet subsidies stop.
Jefferson Curie speaking at a press conference in Raleigh calling for Governor Cooper reject AERP facility.

This facility would have been a disaster for forests. The facility’s demand would have led to clearcutting of 9,600 acres of NC forests per year in a region where hardwood and wetland forests are already under siege from Enviva wood pellet production plants and other industrial logging.

North Carolina is the largest exporter of wood pellets in the nation. Eastern NC continues to be heavily logged from the four existing Enviva wood pellet facilities. Even without the additional impact of the AERP facility, Robeson County faces intensive logging from Enviva and other industrial logging operations.

The closure of this facility is also a win for our climate. The burning of these pellets would have added thousands of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the equivalent of 155,580 cars on the road.

In Robeson County, residents do not have to live with the additional particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and hazardous air pollutants that this plant would have created. This facility never should have been permitted in the first place.

It should not be the responsibility of communities and watchdog organizations to do the jobs of their elected officials and state agencies.

Wood pellet production facilities are given permits and hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, but permitting and commerce agencies provide no oversight. If local residents hadn’t been vigilant in monitoring the pollution and questionable history of this facility, AERP would be advancing operations and creating significant air and water pollution.

We are grateful for a statewide movement that is standing in opposition to this dirty industry.

The organizations on the ground in Robeson County have been instrumental in monitoring every aspect of this dirty proposal and communicating their opposition to local elected officials. These groups include: The Robeson County Coalition for Clean and Green Industry, the Robeson County NAACP, The RedTailed Hawk Collective, The Robeson County Cooperative for Sustainable Development, Friends of the Earth, and Winyah Rivers. The Southern Environmental Law Center has vigilantly monitored this facility, forcing state permitting agencies to address violations.

The fight in Robeson County was bolstered by the Impacted Communities Against Wood Pellets Coalition, a coalition of Dogwood Alliance and representatives from counties with wood pellet facilities.

This victory is just the beginning. Take action to break the biomass industry’s hold on NC.

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