Today, Dogwood Alliance and our long-time partner, Natural Resources Defense Council, launched Our Forests Aren’t Fuel, a campaign to stop the large-scale burning of trees for electricity. It’s no coincidence that the launch of this new effort coincides with today’s Wall Street Journal front-page story exposing how Southern wetland forests are being clearcut, turned into pellets and shipped overseas to be burned in European power stations.
For over a year now, we’ve been doing our homework, researching the market trends, identifying the major corporate players and investigating the impacts on the ground. We’ve been cultivating partnerships and allies (check out the 75 groups signed on to our campaign platform) and informing the media, including, of course, the Wall Street Journal, who we extensively briefed on the issues leading up to today’s article. We’ve been preparing for just the right moment to expose the inconvenient truths about burning wood for electricity: it not only threatens wildlife and water resources in the world’s most biologically diverse temperate forest, but it also threatens to accelerate climate change, endangering life as we know it on planet Earth. Today, the smoking gun is revealed, with evidence that trees from clearcut 100-year old wetland forests in the Southern US were burned as fuel to generate electricity.
Misdirected renewable energy policies both here in the US and in Europe treat biomass, including the burning of trees, as renewable energy just like solar and wind. With billions of dollars of government subsidies available, over the past several years, major utility companies have been converting coal burning power plants to wood, even though there is a mounting body of scientific evidence that burning trees for electricity releases more carbon into the atmosphere than burning coal. In a rush to find much-needed alternatives to fossil fuels, this inconvenient truth, along with evidence that it’s destroying forests, has been largely ignored.
As a child in West Virginia, she saw first-hand the impact of forest destruction. Now, she helps others support Dogwood Alliance’s vital mission and applies her skills to online and web marketing. A poet, essayist, and fiction writer, Amanda is also the filmmaker of Dogwood’s Stories Happen in Forests documentary. She holds a Masters degree from Queens University of Charlotte and a BA from Antioch College.