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ACTION ALERT: Log Our Forests to be Burned in Foreign Countries?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


Wood pellets.
Wood pellets. Photo by Amaza via Wikipedia (Public Domain).

Should we turn our forests into wood pellets to be burned in foreign countries? Take action now.


Golden State Natural Resources (GSNR) is proposing two large new plants to turn biomass from California forests into small wood pellets. The plants, located in Northern California and the Central Sierras, would source trees from forests within 100 miles of each plant. At full capacity, these facilities would be among the largest in the United States. Pellets produced at these facilities would be exported through the Port of Stockton for foreign markets.


Proponents argue that this project would provide an economic outlet for “excess” biomass and provide jobs for rural communities.


While proponents claim that trees sourced for the plants would come from fuel reduction projects, in reality, the high volume output of these plants would outpace the capacity of forest thinning projects and place new pressures to aggressively log public lands.


Biomass energy is controversial—and rightfully so. Nearly all forms of combustion for energy production production created greenhouse gas emissions. Wood pellets are a highly carbon-intensive, polluting, expensive, and inefficient energy source. Burning wood to generate electricity produces more carbon emissions at the smokestack than coal per unit of electricity produced. Converting trees into wood pellets and burning wood for energy also produces a host of other pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), heavy metals (lead, mercury), and hazardous air pollutants (benzene, formaldehyde, dioxins).

The Tuolumne pellet mill site in Tuolumne County, CA (marked by a black circle) has a higher-than-average pollution burden and a high poverty rate.
The Tuolumne pellet mill site in Tuolumne County, CA has a higher-than-average pollution burden and a high poverty rate. Map from CalEnviroScreen.

Environmental justice advocates are also concerned with the proposed projects. The proposed port site of Stockton is home to communities with some of the highest pollution burdens in the state, according to CalEnviroScreen. The Tuolumne pellet mill site has a higher-than-average pollution burden and a high poverty rate.


Golden State Natural Resources is accepting scoping comments on the proposal until June 30th. Please take action and voice your environmental concerns to GSNR. Click here to submit comments.



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