FOE calls on Governor Cooper to preserve North Carolina’s forests

Contesting the Massive Clearcutting and Disproportionate Impact of Pollution in Communities of Color by the Wood Pellet Industry

North Carolina- Today community leaders and organizations from rural North Carolina counties impacted by the wood burning biomass industry held a press conference, rally, and delivered a petition to Gov. Cooper contesting future grants, incentives, and permits for energy projects that are not a part of the Clean Energy Plan of the NCDEQ and Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80, which supports NC’s transition to a clean energy economy.

Donna Chavis, Friends of the Earth’s Senior Climate Campaigner and a recognized leader in the environmental justice movement nationwide, issued the following statement in response:

Governor Cooper proclaims to be a climate and environmental justice leader. Yet, our state has provided over $7 million in subsidies to support and expand the climate-destroying wood pellet industry. North Carolina exports more wood pellets than any other state in the nation.

Our forests support biodiversity, remove carbon from the atmosphere and provide natural protection in rural communities from  severe flooding, hurricanes, and drought. Destroying forests to supply the globe with wood pellets exacerbates the climate crisis at home and abroad.

Governor Cooper must take action today by directing the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to fully evaluate the impact of the wood pellet industry on our forests, communities, and public health. He must halt all subsidies, grants and incentives for energy schemes that are not a part of or do not support the NC Clean Energy Plan.

Chavis works and organizes in North Carolina,  where EPA Director Michael Regan was secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality from 2017 to 2021 under Governor Cooper.

This will be the first in a series of public education and action events focused on the growth of this dirty industry in rural Eastern North Carolina, the poorest and most racially diverse region in the state.

Participating organizations include:

350 Charlotte

350 Triangle

7 Directions of Service

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Center for Biological Diversity

Clean Water for North Carolina

Climate Reality Project Orange County, NC Chapter

Coastal Plain Conservation Group

Concerned Citizens of Northampton County

Concerned Citizens Of Richmond County

Dogwood Alliance

Down East Coal Ash Environmental and Social Justice Coalition

Edenton Farmers Market

Extinction Rebellion Charlotte

Friends of the Earth

Gaston Youth

GreenFaith

Haw River Assembly

JAPRI

Middle Sound Lookout

NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch

NAACP New Hanover County

NAACP Robeson County

NC Climate Justice Collective

NC Climate Solution Coalition

NC Climate Solutions Coalition

NC-APPPL: Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live

Ocean Natural Farm

Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace

Plastic Ocean Project

Rachel Carson Council

RedTailed Hawk Collective

RICHMOND CLEAN AIR COALITION

Robeson County Cooperative for Sustainable Development

Southern Forests Conservation Coalition

SouthWings

Spruill Farm Conservation: Project

The Climate Reality Project Charlotte Chapter

Toxic Free North Carolina

Triangle Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Tuesdays with Tillis Indivisible

U2U Charlotte

Winyah Rivers Alliance

Communications Contact: Friends of the Earth, Aisha Dukule, 202-893-3502, [email protected]
Expert Contacts: Friends of the Earth, Donna Chavis, [email protected]
Dogwood Alliance, Scot Quaranda, 828-242-3596, [email protected]

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