FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2015 Contact: Emily Zucchino, 828.301.9566, [email protected]
New Video Exposes the Negative Impact of Wood Pellet Manufacturing on a Rural Community in North Carolina
Accompanying the Short Film is a Toolkit that Helps Communities Begin Organizing Opposition and Share Resources
Asheville, NC – Communities across the Southern US are no stranger to extractive industries that threaten their health and quality of life. A new video, “Selling Out Sampson County” by Dogwood Alliance investigates the impact that the latest threat, wood pellet manufacturing, has on the rural South and inspires people around the region to organize to stop this growing threat.
It is an all too familiar story. New industries approach local governments promising jobs and assorted economic benefits; instead, they extract natural resources, damage the environment, bring just a handful of low-paying jobs, degrade the economic vitality of the area and impact public health and community well-being for decades.
“What the good people of Sampson County face with a new wood pellet mill to be operated by Enviva is destruction of their local forests, a degraded quality of life and increased health risks,” said Emily Zucchino of Dogwood Alliance. “We hope their story will inspire communities across the region to say ‘no’ to this industry and work together to create long-term economic solutions that benefit everyone.”
“Selling Out Sampson County,” takes a close look at Sampson County in North Carolina, where local residents are facing a new Enviva wood pellet mill. The mill is currently under construction and will send the pellets by truck to the Port of Wilmington, where they will be shipped to Europe to be burned for electricity.
Local residents fear the impact that industrial-scale logging and wood pellet production will have on their peaceful, rural community. Logging will impact their water quality, the ability for forests to protect their homes from flooding and destroy the places they have lived, worked and played in for generations.
On top of the forest impacts, quality of life in their small town will be harmed. Increased truck traffic to feed the mill will clog roads and make them more dangerous. An industrial facility running day and night will increase noise and air pollution. Children, elderly and those with weakened immune systems and lung problems will face more serious health concerns.
Furthermore, this industry is being fueled by massive subsidies and incentives, many at the expense of local taxpayers. What few jobs the industry provides come at the expense of the forests, air, water and sustained economic growth of communities. Development that destroys the environment and health of the people is not forward-thinking; it is a short-term profit grab for foreign companies at the expense of the long-term prosperity of a region.
“For other neighborhoods and communities that might be facing this same sort of plant, I would say do everything you can to keep it out,” said Deborah Kornegay of Citizens for a Safe Environment in Sampson County, NC.
In addition to the new video, Dogwood Alliance also released a community toolkit that helps concerned citizens organize to stop new wood pellet mills and biomass utilities from coming to their town. You can watch the video here and download the toolkit here.
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About Dogwood Alliance
Dogwood Alliance is increasing protection for millions of acres of Southern forests by transforming the way corporations, landowners and communities value them for their climate, wildlife and water benefits. Dogwood Alliance has revolutionized the environmental practices of some of the world’s largest corporations. For more information on the organization please visit www.dogwoodalliance.org or follow on Twitter @DogwoodAlliance.