U.S. Environmental Groups Form Coalition to Oppose U.S. Wood Pellet Exports to Europe

Some 75 U.S. environmental groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the more militant Dogwood Alliance have mounted an all-out campaign against exports of U.S. wood pellets to Europe to reduce air pollution from coal-fired electricity generation plants.

The environmental battle cry, as voiced by the Dogwood Alliance, is that “European utility companies are driving the destruction of Southern forests in the name of ‘renewable energy’.”

The environmental groups have been fired up by the dramatic growth over the past five years of wood pellet production primarily in the U.S. South largely for shipment to the European Union countries that are under mandate to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 by reducing coal consumption.  The pellet boom has resulted in the establishment of 68 plants, in operation or planned, from Virginia to Texas, according to a forestry research source.

The environmental groups are particularly agitated that most of the wood being converted into pellets is coming from whole trees rather than from woody biomass such as timber harvest residues, including tops and branches.

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