Another instance of our priceless Southern forests being cut down to keep the lights on in Europe.
The pellets processed at the Southampton site are then trucked to the export facility in Chesapeake, VA, where they are shipped to Europe to be burned as fuel.
This past week, we traveled again to Chesapeake. This time, we visited Enviva’s export site, met with concerned community members living in Virginia and spent some time in the incredible forests that we’re working to protect.
We started the week kayaking through old-growth Cypress groves on the beautiful Nottoway River. Out on the river, surrounded by the dark, tannin-stained water and majestic Bald Cypresses, our friend and guide, Tim McCormick, reminded us of the great importance of this type of ecosystem. Wetlands are home to many species, including rare and endangered animals; they provide flood control by absorbing runoff and maintain and improve water quality. The area we kayaked is public land and therefore protected, but just up the river, many of the trees have been destroyed for profit.
On Wednesday afternoon, we went up to Chesapeake to get a closer look at the Enviva export facility. The southern part of the Elizabeth River runs through Portsmouth and Chesapeake and is lined with industrial centers on both sides. From the Jordan Bridge crossing the river, it is easy to spot the two enormous white silos that store up to 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets. We paddled our kayaks through Paradise Creek, which runs right next to the domes. The structures are massive. It’s alarming to realize the amount of forests that must be cleared to stock these domes, and the impact of this huge loss on our environment and communities.
While in Virginia, we met with environmentalists, students, professors and community members who are concerned about Enviva’s role in destroying our Southern forests. At teach-ins in Norfolk and Richmond, we met with allies and invited people to take part in expressing opposition to the growing biomass industry.
We had a great trip, connecting with allies and seeing Enviva’s destructive facility firsthand. We look forward to heading back to Chesapeake at the end of the month!