Active Energy sells Lumberton facility and abandons plan for controversial wood pellet facility
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Facing ongoing problems and legal action against unpermitted pollution at its Lumberton NC facility, today Active Energy Group announced an agreement to sell the site, ending plans to build a controversial wood pellet facility.
For the past two years, Active Energy had moved forward with plans to build a biomass plant that would have exported wood pellets to Europe and Asia while increasing water and air pollution at the site. In addition, the facility had been the site of ongoing pollution concerns raised by SELC and the Winyah Rivers Alliance.
Today Active Energy agreed to sell the site for $4.65 million to Phoenix Investors LLC, a commercial real estate firm focused on the revitalization of former manufacturing facilities—meaning an end to plans to construct a wood pellet mill there for export to Europe and Asia.
“We’re relieved and happy that today marks an end to plans for a new wood pellet facility, which would have meant more water and air pollution for a community already burdened by this site,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Attorney Heather Hillaker. “We look forward to working with the new owners to address existing contamination at the site. Today is a good step forward for the Lumber River and the many people in Lumberton and Robeson County who depend on it.”
Wood pellet mills for biomass energy are contributing to climate change and the destruction of Southern forests. The wood pellet export industry has exploded across the South, leading to clear cutting of mature forests for an energy source that produces more carbon emissions than coal.
“I am glad that the concerns of the local community have been heard,” said Jefferson Currie II, Lumber Riverkeeper and member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. “AERP’s sale of the site will ensure that the Lumber River and our local communities will not have to suffer from the added pollution from the company manufacturing experimental wood pellets in Lumberton. We have a long way to go to protect the Lumber River from industrial pollution, but the end of plans for a pellet mill in Lumberton is one less thing to worry about.”