Urban Fold

Georgia Court Upholds Marsh Protections

Those concerned with protecting Georgia’s 387,000 acres of salt marshes (and the $2 billion they bring to Georgia’s coastal economy) won a major victory this month.

A guest column by John Shibley, former president of the Georgia Conservancy, details a recent decision by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division that rescinded some of the protections of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act of 1970 and the Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975.

"One of the most effective practices for protecting our resources under the Act is the 25-foot buffer around waters of the state within which land-disturbing activities are restricted," explains Shibley.

"In April, however, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division removed the requirement for a buffer in marsh conditions, and thus, "[the] EPD’s approach left hundreds of thousands of acres of Georgia marshes vulnerable to the contamination the [Erosion and Sedimentation] Act was adopted to prevent."

The Georgia Court of Appeals, however, came to the rescues of the buffer requirement, deciding that the requirement "protects all waters of the state, including marshes."

Full Story: Court of Appeals’ ruling protects Georgia’s marshes; let’s hope state leaders will do the same next year

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