Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Awards National Wildlife Federation and Southern Environmental Law Center $1.6 Million Grant for Continued Bioenergy and Wildlife Work

"We are extremely grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for their strong and continued support on this important issue."

03-27-2014 // Julie Sibbing

Longleaf PineThe National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) are pleased to announce they have received a three-year grant of $1,162,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) to support their “Bioenergy, Wildlife and Biodiversity” project, which supports efforts to ensure the sustainability of bioenergy in the United States. The grant renews a previous three-year financial commitment from DDCF that allowed NWF and SELC to make substantial progress elevating climate, wildlife and biodiversity issues into important policy discussions surrounding bioenergy. 

This new grant will provide NWF and SELC with the opportunity to build on their efforts to improve the sustainability of bioenergy as it relates to impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat, especially with regard to biomass sourced from the Southeastern United States. NWF and SELC will also fully engage in the policy processes of the federal government and the European Union to ensure that the true greenhouse gas implications of biomass used for energy are taken into account. 

"At the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we believe that protecting wildlife, habitat and intact landscapes is an important part of the nation’s shift to more climate-friendly renewable energy sources," says Andrew Bowman, DDCF’s Program Director for the Environment. "We are pleased to renew our support for National Wildlife Federation and the Southern Environmental Law Center to continue their successful work to ensure that wildlife and biodiversity issues are considered as bioenergy development expands in the United States."

"We are extremely grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for their strong and continued support on this important issue," said Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. "In the face of climate change, we must work aggressively to find alternative sources of energy, but we must also ensure that these alternatives are not causing more problems than they are solving."

"Cutting mature natural forests for electric power production in the EU is threatening Southeastern U.S. forests that are critical for both wildlife habitat and carbon storage.  Burning these trees in a supposed effort to address climate change is totally misguided," said David Carr, General Counsel at the Southern Environmental Law Center. "SELC is delighted to have the support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to shine the light on these harmful yet escalating practices."

While receiving more attention in the past few years, NWF and SELC believe that climate, wildlife and biodiversity issues raised by bioenergy development must be elevated to a higher priority.  From the destruction of hundreds of thousands of acres of fragile native prairies to grow corn for ethanol, to the EPA’s approval of the use of a highly invasive plant species to make ethanol, to the cutting of mature trees from swamp forests to make wood chips to feed inefficient biomass plants in the European Union and the U.S., it is a critically important time for this issue.

"Under this grant, we plan to work with government, industry, natural resources professionals and our partner conservation and environmental groups to help move the ball on sustainability issues surrounding bioenergy," said Schweiger.

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