Does NC Executive Order To Protect Wetlands Go Far Enough?

On Monday, Governor Cooper released Executive Order 305. This order aims to protect North Carolina’s wetlands. The order seeks to conserve one million new acres of natural lands with a focus on wetlands. It will also restore and reforest one million new acres of forests and wetlands. Additionally, it will plant one million new trees in urban areas. These protections will be in place by 2040.

The new order is a response to the state legislature’s decision to drop vital wetland protections. The decision posed significant threats to communities, fisheries, and the environment.

Danna Smith, Executive Director at Dogwood Alliance, said:

“Wetland forests keep our communities healthy and safe. It is great to see the governor recognize the importance of protecting wetlands. For over a decade our wetland forests have been logged by the wood pellet industry. Unfortunately, the governor’s Executive Order does not call out this threat.”

North Carolina is ground zero for the wood pellet industry. It is the largest wood pellet exporting state in the nation. The wood pellets are shipped overseas to burn for electricity. Over 200,000 acres of North Carolina forests are clearcut each year – that’s over 400 football fields per day.

Dogwood Alliance investigations show that wetland forests are a primary target of the wood pellet industry. Research also shows that this industry’s impacts are greatest in low-income communities of color.

Wetland forests play a vital role in:

  • flood mitigation
  • water quality
  • wildlife habitat preservation

Communities across the state rely on wetlands to protect them from:

  • flooding
  • storm surges
  • the worst impacts of climate change

Additionally, millions of North Carolinians rely on wetlands for clean drinking water. Wetland destruction also threatens our seafood industry. That industry is valued at almost $300 million per year.

Danna Smith said:

“The Governor’s intention is good. We hope that this will protect wetland forests from industrial logging. This is especially true in communities impacted by the wood pellet industry. Wetland forests and the communities that depend on them deserve protection.”

One Response to “Does NC Executive Order To Protect Wetlands Go Far Enough?”

  1. Captain Mack Simons

    This is such good news. Thank you Roy Cooper, it’s like a breath of fresh air!


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