Dozens gathered to protest outside of the Enviva headquarters in Raleigh today, demanding change from the world's largest wood pellet production company.

Enviva creates wood pellets often shipped overseas to be used as "renewable" biomass energy, a controversial practice that burns more carbon than fossil fuels.

The company has four plants across the state in Northhampton, Hertford, Sampson, and Richmond counties. Many neighbors in those communities say production is disrupting their quality of life.

Debra David lives next to an Enviva plant in Richmond County and says a fine dust has engulfed her home and noise from trucks and wood processing keep her up at night. She also says she's developed asthma and other respiratory issues from breathing in the dust.

Neighbor of Enviva plant speaks at protest

"Do the right thing, Enviva," David said. "The plant is one thing, but if you’re causing health problems, that is a no no. Enough is enough!"

The protesters delivered a petition to the Enviva office asking the company to mitigate dust and noise, stop sourcing from North Carolina forests, and halt overnight production.

It’s estimated that the wood pellet industry clear-cuts about 60,000 acres of forests in the state each year.

The Impacted Communities Against Wood Pellet Coalition (ICAWP) organized the protest and says the company has been ignoring the concerns of impacted communities while receiving millions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks from the state.

"We have taken our message to Governor Cooper, to Department of Environmental Quality and nothing is being done to stop the pollution, the destruction of our forests, and the carbon emissions," said Emily Zucchino with Dogwood Alliance. "So, we’re here today taking our message straight to Enviva."

Enviva employees on site declined to respond to concerns in the petition or requests for comment.

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