Richmond County, N.C. Mounts Last Ditch Opposition to Enviva Wood Pellet Plant

By Christine S. Carroll

(Screenshot) Protesters against the Enviva wood pellet plant march near Dobbins Heights Community Park in a video produced by the Dogwood Alliance, an Asheville-based environmental group that is working with Concerned Citizens of Richmond County to put the brakes on the plant.

HAMLET — Environmental activists have expressed last-minute opposition to a wood pellet-processing plant to be built near Dobbins Heights. Richmond County commissioners approved plans for the plant three years ago, and construction has begun.

On June 15, the Dogwood Alliance released a video called “Rising Up with Richmond County,” which features residents who fear that the Enviva Biomass plant will exacerbate breathing problems and traffic issues. The alliance also has created a petition to Gov. Roy Cooper, asking him to reverse the granting of state financial incentives offered by his predecessor, Pat McCrory.

“Richmond County has been the epicenter of environmental injustice in the state,” said Emily Zuchino, community network manager for Dogwood Alliance, which has its headquarters in Asheville. The alliance and residents who speak in the video complain that harmful industries often locate their plants in areas populated by the poor and people of color, communities traditionally under-represented in political life.

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