In North Carolina, black, brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), Superfund sites, coal ash facilities, biogas operations, and wood pellet plants. Although NC DEQ is responsible for regulating and monitoring industry operations in a manner that protects natural resources and communities from environmental and health risks, many residents across the state continue to grapple with environmental injustices and the burdens these facilities’ place on their health and quality of life.
Enviva is the world’s largest wood pellet manufacturing company, with NC facilities in Ahoskie, Hamlet, Sampson County, and Northampton County. Despite the significant environmental and health risks these facilities pose to neighboring communities, including toxic air and fugitive dust emissions, the biomass industry in NC continues to grow.
Biomass is not a “clean energy” source. Enviva Northampton is a massive emitter of toxic volatile organic compounds, which have been linked to higher rates of asthma, cancer, low birth weights, and cardiovascular disease. Operations of the wood pellet facility in Garysburg, as well as the other Enviva sites across the state, also release large amounts of particulate matter, a known human carcinogen, into the air.
Northampton County, home to four Title V facilities (the largest class of air polluting facilities regulated by NC DEQ), is a small rural community in Northeastern NC. Within a one-mile radius of the Enviva Northampton facility, the population is predominantly Black, with a 73% of folks identifying as Black or African American according to the most recent Census data. The county also has a disproportionate population of residents who are 65 years or older, disabled, and low-income, as compared to state averages. The siting and expansion of polluting industries in Northampton County continues to contribute to the environmental injustices felt by community members, and Enviva’s biomass operations have only made conditions worse.
“We believe that everyone should have a clean, safe place to live, work, and play. Enviva has come in and detracted the living conditions of this community.” – Belinda Joyner, Clean Water for NC & Northampton County Resident
TAKE ACTION and Stand with Communities Impacted by the Wood Pellet Industry:
Speak against the Enviva Northampton facility and urge DEQ to consider environmental justice implications at the NC DEQ virtual public hearing for the Enviva Northampton Title V permit at 6pm on May 24th, register by 4pm. NC DEQ: RELEASE: Public Hearing on Draft Enviva Northampton Permit to be held May 24
Sign the petition from Dogwood alliance calling on Governor Cooper to put a stop to the wood pellet industry and follow through on his promises on climate change and environmental justice:
Sign on to Petition to Governor Cooper (google.com)
Join impacted community organizations and environmental groups at the press conference, rally and petition delivery to call on Governor Cooper to take action on the wood pellet industry on Wednesday, May 26th at 12:30pm at the NC Legislative Building, hosted by Dogwood Alliance: Where’s Cooper Rally & Petition Delivery (facebook.com)