Enviva brings hope

Published 9:08 am Friday, July 27, 2012

Enviva Pellets Southampton on Wednesday gave hope to Western Tidewater.

Breaking ground for its $91 million plant at the Turner Tract Industrial Park outside Franklin, Enviva comes with the promise of 72 new jobs and 300 during the facility’s 18-month construction.

We applaud local and state officials who had a hand in turning this development a reality, especially after an initial proposal to locate Enviva on Shady Brook Trail was met with anger from residents.

We’re glad that county and company officials could reach a compromise.

We hope this brings a reenergized focus on economic development and leads to similar future announcements. It’s a positive step in that direction.

The future looks bright here for Enviva, which produces wood pellets mostly for European utility companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

The company will use one of the state’s most abundant resources — its trees — to produce 500,000 metric tons of the pellets annually.

With this announcement and others, including the repurposing of Franklin’s International Paper mill to produce fluff pulp, the economic future for our area looks bright.