At the White House on October 19, the Rachel Carson Council (RCC) rallied with the Dogwood Alliance and thirty members of frontline environmental justice communities from across the Southeast U.S. to call on the Biden Administration to end its support for the production of polluting and climate damaging industrial wood pellets, or woody biomass. During two days in Washington, as part of the International Day of Action Against Big Biomass that held events on six continents, the RCC helped host an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, the rally and press event in front of the White House, and a meeting with the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Throughout, those most directly affected and harmed by the wood pellet industry in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama and were able to share their personal stories with Federal decision-makers.
Large-scale electricity from biomass using wood pellets, a compressed forest product, has created an environmental justice crisis in the southeastern United States. Wood pellet plants create inordinate noise, air, and water pollution in their communities, leaving neighbors with serious health concerns. All too often, these plants are located in low-income, Black, and Indigenous communities, overburdening people with exposure to criteria air pollutants, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, compromised water quality, noise pollution, and overwhelming smells. The Rachel Carson Council has published three reports on the issue, Clear Cut, Bad Business, and Greenwashing, and has executed local education campaigns to elevate the issue.