Enviva thanks Virginia DEQ for Southampton permit work

By Erin Voegele | September 19, 2019

Enviva Partners LP recently issued statements thanking the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for its work regarding the permitting process for its Southampton pellet plant and reporting minimal impacts from Hurricane Dorian.

Enviva on Sept. 12 thanked the Virginia DEQ for its work to ensure that resident’s voices were heard during a public hearing held that day related to a permit modification process initiated by Enviva that aims to voluntarily increase air quality controls at its Southampton wood pellet plant in connection with a planned production increase and an increase in softwood utilization. The public comment period on the permit closes Sept. 27.

Enviva has requested modifications to the Southampton air permit that would allow it to install additional air emission controls, increase permitted production volume by approximately 245,000 metric tons per year, and increase the permitted percentage of softwood. The Southampton plant currently has an annual production capacity of 510,000 metric tons.

“On behalf of the entire company, I want to express genuine gratitude to the Virginia DEQ for their overwhelming commitment to ensuring that stakeholders in and around our Southampton wood pellet plant had ample opportunities to express their views about our permit request which goes above and beyond the current air quality standards,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva.

Enviva cited economic analysis that indicates its presence in Virginia contributes more than $125.2 million annually in regional economic impact and supports approximately 450 direct and indirect jobs. The company also noted that U.S. Census Bureau data shows the number of families living below the poverty rate has decreased by more than 12 percent since its Southampton plant opened.

Earlier in the month, on Sept. 9, Enviva released a statement confirming Hurricane Dorian resulted in minimal impacts to its operations. The company said it undertook substantial preparation in advance of Hurricane Dorian to keep employees safe and minimize disruption. This included briefly idling operations at some facilities directed affected by the store. The North Carolina State Ports Authority closed the Port of Wilmington Sept. 4, which suspended operations at Enviva’s deep-water marine terminal. The port, however, reopened Sept. 7 and Enviva immediately resumed normal operations at its Wilmington terminal. Enviva said initial assessments show the storm did not cause any material disruption in its operations or damage to its production or terminal facilities.