European Union’s stringent renewable energy requirements are forcing coal-based power plants to use biomass fuel. Swaths of woodlands in Southeastern United States are being cut down to fuel the biomass boom across the Atlantic.
In 2007, the European Union set an ambitious goal to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 20 percent below their 1990 levels by 2020. The move forced coal-based power plants to convert their facilities to burn wood sourcing most of the bio-fuel from United States. Export of wood pellets from the US to Europe has increased six-fold since 2008.
A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council has pointed out that 15 million acres of unprotected forests in the Southeastern United States, home to more than 600 imperiled, threatened or endangered species are at risk due to booming wood exports EU and UK. Additionally, pollution from logging has put more than 18,000 miles of impaired freshwater rivers and streams at new risk.