The Southern Environmental Law Center, the largest, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization dedicated solely to protecting the South’s environment, has launched an initiative focusing on the Georgia coast, including Savannah and the surrounding coastal region. For some time, the Georgia coast, home to some of the most beautiful and vast marshlands, has been under increasing development pressure threatening its special landscape and ecosystems.
"We believe the Georgia coast and certainly the Savannah area are special places that deserve special attention and protection," says David Pope, Director of the Georgia/Alabama office of SELC.  "The Georgia coast is a place with a unique ecology. Georgia marshes are famous worldwide attracting tourists, fishermen and Georgia residents alike."
SELC, founded 22 years ago, uses the full power of the law to preserve and protect the health and environment of the Southeast, including shaping, enacting and enforcing laws and policies, strengthening relationships with legislators and policy-makers, and partnering with other environmental organizations.
Pope adds, "We are not anti-development. We appreciate the need for responsible growth and economic prosperity. But, our job is to protect the public’s interest in the public’s resources and we will challenge those projects that do not meet the requirements of the law and may damage this special place."
SELC works collaboratively with more than 100 partner groups who depend on the group’s expertise, regional perspective, and legal strategy to complement and strengthen their efforts.  SELC’s consistent track record has earned it a reputation as one of the most effective non-profits in the nation. SELC, which is donor-funded by foundations, families and individuals, provides its services at no cost to its partner environmental groups. There are three attorneys based in the Georgia-Alabama office, headquartered in Atlanta, who are focused on Georgia coastal issues.
Pope adds, "the Southeast, already the fastest sprawling region in the U.S., faces unprecedented pressures from explosive population growth and development trends.  Georgia’s coastal marshes and hammocks are very vulnerable in the next 10-20 years given the intense population growth expected in  the area. If special attention is not given to the Georgia coast, we could lose one of the South’s most precious resources."
In addition to beauty and recreations, the Georgia coast’s wetlands provide a cleansing sponge for stormwater runoff, he explained, and the marsh estuary is one of the most unique and productive areas in the U.S. Improperly placed development will cause serious damage to the marsh and the entire ecology.
About the Southern Environmental Law Center
SELC is a nonprofit donor supported  environmental advocacy organization using the power of the law to protect the environment and health in the Southeast. Since 1986, SELC has informed, implemented and enforced environmental law and policy concerning clean air and water, mountain forests, the coast and wetlands, and rural lands and livable communities. Working to defend the public’s interest and never for private gain, SELC provides its legal services without charge to other environmental organizations and partner groups. SELC has 63 staff members and offices in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia; Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Sewanee, Tennessee; and Atlanta. Visit SELC online at www.SouthernEnvironment.org

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