Biomass Energy in the South

Latest News

SELC prepares lawsuit against pellet mill

CHARLESTON, SC  –Three environmental groups today sent a notice of intent to sue Jasper Pellets for significant, repeated, and ongoing Clean Air Act violations at its Ridgeland, S.C. wood pellet manufacturing plant. The notice sent today accuses...

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Conservation groups seek to stop wood pellet company’s illegal pollution of Lumber River

On behalf of Winyah Rivers Alliance, SELC notified Active Energy Renewable Power today that the British-owned company must stop its unpermitted discharges of industrial stormwater into the Lumber River from sawmill operations on property heavily cont...

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Conservation Groups Seek to Stop Wood Pellet Company’s Illegal Pollution of Lumber River

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—On behalf of Winyah Rivers Alliance, the Southern Environmental Law Center today notified Active Energy Renewable Power that the British-owned company must stop its unpermitted discharges of industrial stormwater into the Lumber...

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YouGov poll: Just 23% of Britons believe burning wood for electricity should be classified as ‘renewable energy’

LONDON – A new online YouGov poll has found fewer than one in four Britons (23%) think electricity generated by burning wood from forests should be classified as ‘renewable energy,’. Additionally, 55% also disagreed with the Government’s continued...

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Agreement allows Roxboro residents to breathe cleaner air

People in Roxboro, North Carolina will breathe cleaner air after a highly polluting power plant shuts down by March 2021 thanks to a recently finalized state consent order. The agreement was prompted by advocacy from SELC, Sierra Club and Clean Air C...

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Biomass for British power is stripping southern forests

SELC is taking our commitment to preserving Southern forests across the Atlantic Ocean. We are partnering with a coalition of environmental advocacy groups working to end the United Kingdom’s irresponsible subsidies for companies that burn trees to p...

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New study: Burning wood from ‘sustainably managed’ forests increases carbon pollution for 40+ years

A new analysis by experts in carbon lifecycle modeling reveals that cutting down trees from sustainably managed forests—a practice many in the industry proclaim as a best practice for wood pellet sourcing—and burning them for electricity increases ca...

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Legal challenge forces N.C. wood pellet facility to install pollution controls

The world’s largest manufacturer of wood pellet fuel for power plants, Enviva, agreed to install equipment to cut air pollution at a biomass plant under construction in Richmond County, North Carolina. The agreement was part of a settlement finalized...

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Challenge from Clean Air Groups Forces NC Wood Pellet Factory to Install Pollution Controls

Charlotte, N.C. – The world’s largest manufacturer of wood pellet fuel for power plants, Enviva, agreed to install air pollution-reducing equipment at a biomass plant under construction in Richmond County, North Carolina, in a settlement finalized...

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Air permit challenged for expansion of wood pellet manufacturing plant

SELC and the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of their client Clean Air Carolina, this week challenged an air quality permit the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued to Enviva Hamlet, a wood pellet manufacturing facilit...

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Clean Air Carolina Challenges Air Permit for Enviva Hamlet Expansion in Richmond County

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Southern Environmental Law Center and the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of their client Clean Air Carolina, today challenged the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s issuance of an air quality...

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Faulty assumptions translate to burning Southeast forests for European energy

The profile of biomass energy has been raised in recent weeks as faraway policy decisions in the European Union implicate the health of Southeastern forests. Publications in the south have responded with editorials underscoring the very real threat...

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U.K.’s abandonment of coal could threaten Southern forests

While President Trump is doubling down on coal as an energy source, British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed this week to give up the dirty fossil fuel by 2025. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined May for the announcement and the...

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Statement From the Southern Environmental Law Center on the UK’s Coal Phase-Out

Charlottesville VA – An announcement from Prime Minister Theresa May that the United Kingdom will phase out coal as a power-plant fuel by 2025 is welcome news as long as clean energy, not polluting wood pellets, is used as a replacement. In recent...

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N.C. citizens group, SELC challenge permit for polluter issued without public notice

On behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, SELC challenged a new state air permit for a proposed Enviva wood pellet plant because it was issued without any notice or opportunity for the local community to comment. The Hamlet, North...

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Citizens Group Challenges State Air Permit for Major Polluter Issued Without Public Notice

Chapel Hill, N.C.—On behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, the Southern Environmental Law Center challenged a new state air permit for a proposed Enviva wood pellet plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, because it was issued without any...

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SELC Statement on New Findings by UK Institute on Burning Wood Pellets

Charlottesville, VA— An independent analysis published today by the United Kingdom’s Chatham House confirmed that chopping down the Southeast’s forests and wetlands to burn as wood pellets in UK power plants has increased rather than decreased the...

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New findings conclude burning SE forests as wood pellets increases heat-trapping pollution

An independent analysis published today by the United Kingdom’s Chatham House confirmed that chopping down the Southeast’s forests and wetlands to burn as wood pellets in U.K. power plants has increased, not decreased, the nation’s heat-trapping CO2...

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SELC and partners criticize USDA support for biomass energy

In a recent letter addressed to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, SELC and seven partner organizations challenged Secretary Vilsack’s support of biomass energy, which entails burning wood pellets for utility-scale...

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Industry attempts to undo carbon calculations for biomass in Senate bill

The U.S. Senate is expected, this week, to adopt language in its version of the federal energy bill that would undo years of progress toward recognizing the environmental impacts of the wood pellet industry. The proposed amendment, championed by...

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State fails to properly curb carbon impact of N.C. wood pellet facilities

A proposed facility that would use wood biomass to manufacture wood pellets for export to Europe violates air quality regulations by failing to minimize harmful carbon pollution. The proposed Enviva mill would be located in Richmond County near...

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Proposed Enviva Wood Pellet Plant Raises Concerns of Increasing Carbon Emissions

Chapel Hill, N.C. –A proposed Enviva facility that would burn wood biomass to manufacture wood pellets for export to Europe violates air quality regulations by failing to minimize harmful carbon pollution, according to a letter submitted today to...

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Loss of U.K. biomass subsidy delivers blow to U.S. wood pellet industry

This summer the British government announced it would end a major subsidy for the use of biomass—wood and other plant material—as a fuel source. Enviva, the U.S.-based company that provides most of the biomass from our region, saw it’s stock...

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Wood pellet exports wreaking havoc on climate and forests

An investigation by The Washington Post today examines how the failure to accurately account for carbon emissions from woody biomass under European policies intended to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change could lead instead to more carbon...

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New Analysis finds Burning Wood Pellets

Chapel Hill N.C. –A new analysis by experts in carbon lifecycle modeling, Spatial Informatics Group LLC, reveals that using wood pellets made from hardwood trees cut down in eastern North Carolina and Virginia forests as currently practiced by...

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British science agency agrees with SELC: Burning southern forests for fuel is bad policy

For years, well-intentioned but misguided European energy policies have led to the loss of thousands of acres of native southern forests. Subsidies for renewable fuels led some EU nations, especially the United Kingdom, to turn to biomass—plant...

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New U.K. Report Marks “Beginning of the end” of Wood Pellet Boom and Harvest of Native Southern U.S.

CHAPEL HILL, N. C. -- A report released today by the chief science advisor to the United Kingdom energy agency on the carbon effects of burning wood biomass for energy will significantly change UK energy policy with significant implications for the...

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Conservation Groups, Over 4500 Citizens Call for Public Hearing

In comments submitted to North Carolina this week, conservation groups called for a public hearing and further environmental review of a proposed wood pellet export project at the Port of Wilmington, N.C.  The Southern Environmental Law Center...

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Statement from SELC on New Report Assessing Threats to Southeast Wildlife

A study released today by three major Southern universities, commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation and Southern Environmental Law Center, concludes that wildlife habitat and biodiversity in the Southeast are at risk due to rapidly...

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Study: Rising Demand for Southeast Trees Could Impact Wildlife Habitat

The rapid development of woody biomass energy facilities in the Southeast U.S. has large implications for regional land cover and wildlife habitat, says a new study by three major Southern universities, released today by National Wildlife Federation...

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Study: Rising Demand for Southeast Trees Could Impact Wildlife Habitat

The rapid development of woody biomass energy facilities in the Southeast U.S. has large implications for regional land cover and wildlife habitat, says a new study by three major Southern universities, released today by National Wildlife Federation...

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Federal Court Follows Science in Striking Down EPA’s Biomass Emissions Loophole

A key federal court ruling today confirmed that Clean Air Act limits on carbon dioxide pollution apply to industrial facilities, including tree-burning power plants that burn biomass.  The court vacated an exemption the U.S. Environmental Protection...

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Court agrees with SELC, strikes down climate change loophole

Along with our partners, SELC is celebrating a victory for cleaner air and southern forests. With scientific research, we showed in federal court that wood-burning biomass to generate electricity is as harmful to our health and our climate as...

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Pellet Mills: A Threat to NC Forests

SELC is closely examining the impacts of the pellet industry—growing to meet European power plants’ demands—on eastern North Carolina forests and wetlands. We have already uncovered evidence that some pellet mills are using whole hardwood trees,...

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SELC releases study showing carbon impacts of burning wood for energy in Southeast

SELC today released a study of southeastern forests in the U.S. which finds that burning wood instead of fossil fuels for electricity has a short-term spike in carbon pollution before yielding longer-term reductions in the heat-trapping gas that is...

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Study: Southeast biomass has carbon spike before long-term climate benefits

A new study of southeastern forests in the U.S. finds that in the long run, burning wood instead of fossil fuels to make electricity can reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but not soon enough to prevent worsening the conditions...

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Lawsuit Challenges Clean Air Act Exemption for Biomass Burners

SELC and its partners are challenging a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempts large-scale biomass-burning facilities from carbon dioxide limits under the Clean Air Act for the next three years. The rule will encourage a rush to...

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Lawsuit Challenges Clean Air Act Exemption for Biomass Burners

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging an Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempts large-scale biomass-burning facilities from carbon dioxide limits under the Clean Air Act for the next three years.  Georgia ForestWatch, Wild...

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EPA’s final biomass rule casts a shadow over Southern forests

The Environmental Protection Agency today issued a final rule exempting biomass-energy facilities from limiting carbon pollution is a step backwards from efforts to address climate change, and cast a shadow over Southern forests. The biomass...

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Biomass Rule Bad News for Southern Forests, Undercuts Climate Change Efforts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in its overall effort to rein in heat-trapping greenhouse gases, took a major step backwards today with a final decision to ignore carbon pollution from biomass-burning plants for at least three years. EPA's...

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EPA Backs Down on Controlling Greenhouse Gases from Burning Biomass

Today the EPA changed course and said it will not regulate carbon dioxide from facilities that burn trees and other biomass for at least three years. In the meantime, biomass facilities that come online or upgrade will not have to control for those...

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Groups Appeal NC Decision to Allow Forests to Be Burned for Energy

Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center announced this week they are appealing a recent decision by the N.C. Utilities Commission that would allow Duke Energy to get renewable energy credits from harvesting and...

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Utilities Commission decision on wood bioenergy underscores need for environmental safeguards

Late yesterday, the North Carolina Utilities Commission ruled that Duke Energy can use electricity derived from burning whole trees, rather than just wood waste, to comply with state renewable energy targets. Environmental Defense Fund and the...

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Four Environmental Groups Seek To Defend Greenhouse Gas Rule in Court

Four environmental groups, representing citizens concerned about climate change and forest resources in New England and the Southeast, filed a joint motion in federal court late yesterday to help defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's...

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