WHEREAS, Louisiana’s bottomland hardwood forests provide critical habitat and outdoor recreation as well as water quality and flood control benefits; and
WHEREAS, less than 30% of Louisiana’s bottomland hardwood forests remain, the rest having been cleared of trees and converted to a variety of agricultural uses; and
WHEREAS, Louisiana is on the verge of a boom in biomass pellet plants, with two scheduled to open in 2015 and several more proposed and some of these plants are close to bottomland hardwood forests that may become major sources of wood for the plants; and
WHEREAS, the export of wood biomass as pellets is driven by the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive and the United Kingdom’s Renewable Obligation, respectively; and
WHEREAS, while these EU and UK policies say that forest biomass harvests should protect biodiversity, there is no meaningful way to ensure that biomass harvesting avoids threatened natural areas like certain hardwood bottomland forests or protects threatened or endangered species; and
WHEREAS, across the southeast U.S. generally, wood pellet exports to Europe are growing by 20% or more per year and one pellet facility owner is planning to use biomass products in its coal-fired power plants indefinitely; and
WHEREAS, a National Wildlife Federation –commissioned study found that without policies in place to ensure sustainable sourcing, biomass plants could harm wildlife habitat and biodiversity in U.S. forests, specifically finding among other things that an existing biomass plant in North Carolina is harvesting hardwood forests and will likely harvest threatened forest types;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation urges the owners and operators of pellet mills, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Office of the Governor, and the Legislature to use their respective authorities to monitor the sourcing of wood for the biomass plants and to ensure that the harvest of Louisiana forests for export to Europe does not diminish the State’s wildlife habitats and species of conservation concern; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation urges the relevant European Union and United Kingdom agencies to evaluate their methods of monitoring and enforcing their stated biodiversity and sustainability standards in relation to biomass harvests.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in Convention Assembled, August 16, 2014 in West Monroe, Louisiana.
The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization with more than 9,900 members and 24 affiliate groups. Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, fishers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.