Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NC has 3 of South's '10 most endangered' environmental sites

The Southern Environmental Law Center rates three sites in North Carolina and one in South Carolina among the South's top 10 endangered places and at risk of "irreversible damage" in 2011. The N.C. sites include the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks, the Cape Fear River Basin in Southeastern N.C. and the Snowbird Mountains in Western N.C. In South Carolina, the group named the Santee River Basin as one of the 10 most threatened places.

"Our region is headed down a path that threatens to overwhelm the Southern landscapes we love -- our mountains, rivers, coast, and rural countryside," Marie Hawthorne, SELC's Director of Development, said in a news release Tuesday morning. "Decisions made today about how we extract and produce energy will have consequences for decades to come. The key message behind our Top Ten list is that there is still time to save these special places — but we need to act now."

For more information, click here

Here's the SELC's list:

Alabama's Coast: SELC is leading legal efforts to strengthen oversight and regulation of offshore drilling, and to ensure that nothing like the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is allowed to happen again.

Georgia's Cypress Forests: Fueled by an increase in demand for cypress mulch, timber companies are chopping down Georgia's iconic wetland forests faster than they can recover.

Oconee River, Georgia: A proposed coal-fired power plant would siphon an average of 13.5 million gallons a day from the Oconee River, robbing downstream farms and communities that depend on this resource.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina: A short-sighted bridge replacement plan would turn one of the nation's most important havens for waterfowl into a permanent highway construction zone.

Snowbird Mountains, North Carolina: An outdated highway expansion plan from the 1960s would cut four lanes of asphalt through stunning mountain terrain and would expose trout streams to acid-laden pollution.

Cape Fear Basin, North Carolina: A proposed cement plant near Wilmington would destroy 1,000 acres of wetland habitat and further pollute the Northeast Cape Fear River, which already suffers from mercury levels harmful to people and wildlife.

Santee River Basin, South Carolina: Despite available remedies, an old system of hydroelectric dams could be allowed to perpetuate decades of degradation to wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee: Mountaintop removal and other destructive coal mining practices threaten an ecosystem that is world-renowned for its rich biological diversity and rare species.

George Washington National Forest, Virginia: The film Gasland has exposed the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), a method of natural gas extraction linked to the contamination of water supplies; fracking could be on its way to the Southeast's largest public forest and the source of clean water for many Shenandoah Valley communities.

The Chesapeake Bay: SELC is assisting in overseeing the state and federal agencies charged with developing and implementing restoration plans for the Bay, which continues to suffer from pollution from air, land, and water.

1 comment:

Counsel Dew said...

I wonder the cost of continued legal challenges vs. the cost of buying property to protect such locations... Has a study been done that looks at these types of questions? Seems to me the Nature Conservancy does well buy buying property and getting property donated through the use of conservation easements...