Over and over again, destructive polluting industries sweep into rural communities and make sweetheart deals with a few “leading citizens” who help them push tax breaks, subsidies, and rezoning through local governments. Once they get their way, local residents are left to deal with the aftermath – the smell, the chemicals, the blazing lights, the road traffic, the health consequences, and a decimated tax base. All in exchange for a few jobs that may or may not last beyond plant construction.
We’ve all seen it before, but, this time, we have a chance to stop it.
The misleadingly named The Renewable Biomass Group wants to change zoning laws in Adel, Georgia so they can start the polluting. They will also destroy a beautiful natural environment and may even put the iconic national treasure, the Okefenokee Swamp, at risk. If the city agrees to their plan, the company will open a wood pellet manufacturing plant that produces nearly 500,000 TONS of wood pellets per year, cutting down almost 12,000 acres of forested land each year that will take decades to grow back. All that only to send pellets to Europe to burn for dirty electricity.
The Renewable Biomass Group has promised:
- Woody biomass is a clean renewable energy source
- We only use waste wood and scraps
- Our pellet plant will bring jobs and economic prosperity to the community
- We’ll only be operating 8 hours/day
- There are no health problems associated with biomass plants
- We’re here to support the community
- Woody biomass is neither clean nor renewable
- They clearcut forests, which take at least 20-30 years to return to the same level of health
- Outdoor recreation opportunities in standing forests create far more jobs than pellet plants
- This plant will operate 24/7 with constant truck traffic
- Biomass plants almost ALWAYS ask for tax subsidies and incentives
- Communities with pellet plants have serious health impacts, including increased rates of asthma
- Biomass plants, like most polluting industries, target low income, rural communities of color
The city has an opportunity to stop this planned biomass plant by voting to simply uphold current zoning laws. Now that these polluting biomass corporations have stripped North Carolina, the largest exporter of wood pellets in the nation, they are targeting Georgia, and Adel is right in their crosshairs.
They also consistently target Environmental Justice communities (rural low income and BIPOC communities), believing that those communities won’t have a choice in the matter. But Adel does have a choice. You have a choice.
We have to expect more from our leaders.
In Georgia, we have seen how that leadership looks. During the last session of the General Assembly, Stand4Forest resolutions were submitted in both the Georgia Senate and House. Because of the pandemic, they never made it out of committee, but the sponsors of these resolutions stepped up to show what leadership on forest protection looks like.
Adel needs leaders like these.
Send a message to the City Council and Mayor before the next Council meeting on September 21, and ask them to deny The Renewable Biomass Group’s rezoning request.
If you’re a local constituent, remember to let them know that you will remember their vote the next time they run for office!