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Research

Professor Whittington conducts systematic research and analysis in cumulative impact, public health, human exposure to corporate pollution and waste management systems, renewable energy, just transition, pro-democracy reform, modern activism, budgetary implications, and review of global markets.

To inquire about or book a research or organizational cultural development consultation, visit Whittington & Staley Consulting Group.

Wood Pellet Industry
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wood pellet.jpg
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Greenpeace / Karl Adami

Biomass: Wood Pellet Industry

Professor Whittington has conducted community support initiatives in the US South. She has stood adamantly against international Wood Pellet operations operating in the United States of America, specifically in Black, Indigenous, Tribal, and People-of-Color (BITPOC) and low-wealth communities.

"Wood pellets are usually made of compressed sawdust that is a waste product from other industries (e.g., sawmills). The pellets are held together by the natural lignin in the wood—typically no binder glue is needed. Lignin makes up approximately one quarter to a third of dry wood." - Science Direct

Professor Whittington has conducted community support initiatives in the US South. She has stood adamantly against international Wood Pellet operations operating in the United States of America, specifically in Black, Indigenous, Tribal, and People-of-Color (BITPOC) and low-wealth communities.

Wood Pellet industries historically are internationally operated out of local areas in the UK and Asia. Due to the harm of the corporation in releasing carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants, the operations of these wood pellet industries have been relocated to low-wealth and minority populations in the United States of America. However, the manufactured product is shipped back to the UK and Asia for fuel use in those respective localities. The wood pellet industry leaves behind massive contamination, lethal toxic chemicals, and an abundance of traffic-related transport emissions that have created disparate impacts and exacerbated health conditions in communities across the US South. Finally, the wood pellet industry is considered a 'temporary" industry with no intentional plans to stay in the US long-term, an economic disaster in communities waiting to occur.
The disaster of deforestation and removal of key hard woods from community leaves disastrous consequences for the ecosystem of the natural habitat, leading to disruption of biodiversity, existing species indigenous to the area and increase potential of flooding and soil impact for communities.


In 2019, Professor Whittington traveled to Mississippi at the request of community leaders to work with riverkeepers and land stewards from Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina to formulate a community assessment plan for rural communities in the face of emerging wood pellet permitted operations.

In 2022, Professor Whittington was invited to present her evidence-based research report on the cumulative impact, and health impact concerns for rural communities near the Title V permitted wood pellet operations. Major organizations across the US South have requested this presentation to incorporate into their outreach education strategies and engagement with state and local officials.

View the evidence based research via the video presentation above or here.

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