Wood Pellets

Wood Pellets
Credit: Wikimedia

  The European Union recently set an aggressive goal for 20 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. They turned to the American South as the primary supplier of wood pellets, a renewable alternative to coal. But some environmentalists claim pellets are not a viable carbon-neutral resource and the pellet industry is fostering environmentally hazardous logging practices.

Wetlands in eastern North Carolina.
Gary Dincher / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmental groups say a wood pellet mill in eastern North Carolina is threatening sensitive forests. 

A report and series of maps from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Dogwood Alliance says the company Enviva is clear-cutting wetland forests for wood near its facility in Ahoskie. 

Enviva breaks down wood material to pellets and sells them to European countries, which burn them to generate electricity.  The groups say Enviva is using whole trees in addition to tree tops or limbs.