EVENT: David Pope of non-profit environmental advocacy organization, Southern Environmental Law Center, to speak at Skidaway Rotary

3 02 2009

David Pope of the Southern Environmental Law Center will speak to the Skidaway Rotary Feb. 18 about “Protecting Coastal Treasures.” Pope will discuss the unique and important resources on the Georgia coast, the threats they face, and what SELC is doing to protect those resources. The Southern Environmental Law Center is a non-profit, donor-supported environmental advocacy organization using the power of the law to protect the environment and special places in the South. 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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(SAVANNAH, GA) David Pope of the non-profit environmental advocacy organization, the Southern Environmental Law Center, will speak to the Skidaway Rotary February 18 about “Protecting Coastal Treasures.” Pope will discuss the unique and important resources on the Georgia coast, the threats they face, and what SELC is doing to protect those resources. The Southern Environmental Law Center uses the power of the law to protect the environment and special places in the South. 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 a special initiative focused on protecting the Georgia coast with three lawyers working on this effort.

The Director of the Georgia/Alabama office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Pope oversees the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization’s special initiative focused on protecting the Georgia coast. He also supervises all of SELC’s other work in Georgia and Alabama, including work to protect the public’s interest in our air, water and forests and work to improve our transportation issues and energy efficiency. In addition, he serves on the management committee for the organization and helps sets the priorities for work throughout the South.

He is a former partner at Carr, Tabb & Pope in Atlanta, with 29 years of environmental law practice. He graduated from University of Florida, Phi Beta Kappa, and University of North Carolina Law School.
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,; and Atlanta. Visit SELC online at www.southernenvironment.org

Advertisements




City hall wetlands project underway

26 12 2008

By Rachel Oswald | Covington News

Visitors to the Covington City Hall in recent weeks have no doubt noticed a great deal of activity taking place to the left and right of the building.

Since the beginning of November, a wetlands creation project has been underway on the side of city hall that abuts Dried Indian Creek. A new bio-retention parking lot is also under construction on the other side of city hall on Emory Street.

The city is using a Georgia Environmental Protection Division grant to fund the wetlands project which encompasses 1.2 acres next to city hall. The EPD’s $158,000 grant will pay for 55 percent of the costs of the project. The city is matching EPD with $130,000 of its own from the Storm-water fund.

City Engineer Tres Thomas said he was pleased that the city received lower than expected price bids for the project. Cline Service Corporation won the construction contract with a low bid of $142,000 he said. Design schematics for the wetlands project were completed by Manhard Consulting.

To make way for the wetlands, several large pecan trees had to be cut down next to city hall. Thomas said the decision was made to remove the trees because their root systems would not have survived in a wetland environment.

Those pecan trees will be replaced with 15 river birch trees, eight green ash trees, 12 Ironwood trees, six swamp chestnut oaks and nine water oaks. All total, 107 trees and shrubs will be planted in the wetlands site.

“It’ll take them a while to reach a mature stage, but I’m hoping that it’ll turn out nice,” Thomas said of the tree plantings.

The wetlands project also includes the construction of a raised boardwalk that will wind through the site allowing visitors to admire the natural splendor of the wetlands without muddying their feet. The boardwalk will hook up to the county-wide trails system once it is complete Thomas said.

“Part of our grant requires demonstration,” Thomas said. “Anyone in the public is welcome to come down and see it.”

The idea for the wetlands project is the result of collaboration between Manhard and the city, Thomas said. Two earlier EPD grant proposals were turned down, but the city was awarded the grant this year due to the endangered status of Indian Creek Thomas said.

“EPD likes to see projects that protect impaired streams,” he said.

Grading work is already underway for the control structure that will funnel stormwater discharge from as far away as the Covington square into Indian Creek, which, depending on rain levels, should result in a permanently flooded site. Construction will also entail digging 2-3 feet down to access groundwater to flood the site.

Thomas said he expected construction on the wetlands site to be completed by April.

Read on here.





Georgia court sides with marina developer

17 11 2008

 

UPI

ATLANTA, Nov. 17  — The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a developer who wants to build the state’s largest marina complex on the Gulf Coast.

 

The 5-2 decision found that the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee, which issues permits for marinas, does not have the authority to regulate development on the adjacent mainland, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The proposed marina would be near the Cumberland Island National Seashore. The developer is Land Resource LLC.

State law does not show “any intent on the part of the General Assembly to establish the committee as the ‘super regulator’ of any and all development in the coastal areas of the state,” Justice P. Harris Hines wrote for the court’s majority.

Environmental groups, including the Center for a Sustainable Coast and the Southern Environmental Law Center, are opposed to the project. They said the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act gave the state the responsibility to protect the tidal marshes from damaging storm water runoff created by developing the adjacent land.

Land Resource received the state permit to build the marinas and docks in 2005, but because of the legal challenges, the work has not been done.

To read the opinion, click here.





Georgia marina community’s developer files Chapter 11

17 11 2008

The developer of a controversial marina community on the Georgia coast near Cumberland Island National Seashore has filed for bankruptcy.

Land Resource LLC, which was headquartered in Atlanta until last year, filed under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code in Orlando, where it is now located. Company owner J. Robert Ward is seeking “breathing room” to sell its assets, valued at about $115.2 million, the filing says.  In the filing dated Oct. 30, the company lists liabilities of $214.8 million. Among the creditors are the Atlanta Braves, owed $50,000, and a former employee who is owed $787,000, according to Land Resource.

Ward said his company fell victim to the real estate downturn, fueled by the credit crisis and low consumer confidence. He was not making enough money on sales to complete the promised projects.

“The banks stopped making loans to our customers,” Ward said in an e-mail. “It just doesn’t seem fair that the banks can put us into bankruptcy because of their failure to lend and then get a federal bailout, but then chase me personally and ruin a very good company and put 250 people out of work and affect thousands of property owners and leave them with uncompleted lots.”

Ward, who is 60, said he will start over.

The company’s assets include 128 unsold lots in Cumberland Harbour in St. Marys, where the largest marina complex on the Georgia coast has been proposed. According to Land Resource, 936 lots have been sold.

Read on here.





Nonprofit group bringing its environmental advocacy to Savannah

31 10 2008

 

Marjorie Young | The Creative Coast

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has launched a special initiative focusing on the Georgia coast, says David Pope, Director of the Georgia/Alabama office of the SELC. The nonprofit SELC is the South’s largest environmental advocacy organization, using the power of the law to protect the environment and health in the Southeast. SELC’s Georgia Coastal Initiative brings the organization’s long-standing reputation and expertise to local environmental efforts. With three attorneys on the project, SELC will provide its legal services without charge to other environmental organizations and partner groups. http://www.SouthernEnvironment.org

Media contact: David Pope, (404) 521-9900

(SAVANNAH) – 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 here.





Florida: FWC hosts climate change summit

30 09 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A climate change summit hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will begin Wednesday in Orlando.

Climate change experts and fish and wildlife scientists will discuss the future of Florida’s animal populations and how to conserve and manage Florida’s resources. Experts from the FWC and other state and federal agencies will discuss the impacts of climate change on wildlife nationally and determine what it means for Florida.

Some of the experts attending include Virginia Burkett, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Defenders of Wildlife’s Jean Brennan, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.





EPD Proposes Settlements with Gainesville, Cumming Over Sewage Spills

26 08 2008

 

By Ken Stanford Editor, Access North Georgia

ATLANTA – The state has proposed settlements with the City of Gainesville and the City of Cumming over sewage spills.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) wants $6,250 from Gainesville and $1,500 from Cumming.

The filings were among several involving northeast Georgia interests that were were released Monday.

The Ellijay water pollution control plant (proposed $750 settlement), Unicoi State Park near Helen ($150), Georgia Cumberland Academy in Gilmer County ($750) and Gilmer County’s Oakland Elementary School ($500) were also included.

Each of the filings and proposed settlements come under the authority of the Water Quality Control Act, according to EPD.