by Bill Esler – Woodworking Network
GREENVILLE, SC – The world’s largest wood pellet fuel manufacturer Enviva Holdings, established $5 million, 10-year program that it says is designed to protect tens of thousands of acres of bottomland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia. It will also help shield Enviva from environmental critics, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, who say the company’s use of forests for fuel threatens the environment.
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund will focus on about 35 North Carolina and Virginia counties that include about 6 million acres of forests of all types. Of this total, about 20 percent are bottomland forests – low-lying, marshy areas near rivers and streams that are home to tree species such as cypress, gum and oak. Many of these bottomlands are in the Albemarle Sound drainage basin along the Roanoke, Chowan, Meherrin, Nottoway and Blackwater rivers.
Enviva Holdings, LP says it is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, a renewable and sustainable energy source used to generate electricity and heat. Its subsidiaries own and operate six plants in the southeastern United States, employing 600 to produce about 2.2 million metric tons of wood pellets annually. These shipped mostly to power plants in the United Kingdom and Europe that previously were fueled by coal, enabling them to reduce their carbon footprint by about 80 percent.
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