The dogged determination of an Asheville-base environmental group has led to a petition of 600 names going to Laurens County Council, seeking to block the wood pellet industry.
An Enviva wood-gathering and pellet-producing plant has been proposed for Laurens County, and the Dogwood Alliance has worked for several months to block it. Morgan Rowden, a Dogwood Alliance local volunteer, told the County Council last night that 600 people have signed a petition to block Enviva.
She asked for a one-on-one meeting with Council Chairman Joe Wood to discuss what the Dogwood Alliance wants - a Council resolution that blocks any state or local tax incentives to Enviva if the company starts to exercise the land options it has obtained in Laurens County. Local officials say there are no active plans by Enviva to set up a plant here and start harvesting trees for wood pellets, an energy source popular in Europe. No meeting date between Wood and the council members and Rowden and Dogwood Alliance members was announced.
Portucel, a company based in Portugal, is building a wood pellet plant in Greenwood. A development official there said the company is environmentally sensitive and there is no opposition to the industry in Greenwood County. Wood said the plant is being built near Monsanto and "it is huge - most of its product is going overseas."
Rowden and others from the Dogwood Alliance say wood pellet industries "rape" the local forests through clear-cutting and ship wood to other countries. When the wood is gone, so are the industries, the opponents say.
An Enviva spokesman said in a June Upstate Business article Laurens County is still on the company's list for a wood pellet plant. Laurens County was identified as a target county in an Enviva document filed with the Port of Wilmington.