EPD Issues Order Harming Georgia’s Saltwater Marshes
(APN) ATLANTA — In a surprise announcement ironically given on Earth Day, April 22, 2014, Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Director Jud Turner issued an order to create a massive rollback to the protections presently used to defend the saltwater marshes in Georgia. The rollback will eliminate the buffers that guard the marshes from pollutants.
With no public hearing on the matter, Georgians were not given any say about the future of the marshes. Turner was able to solidify the deal with no civic contention.
“With the stroke of the pen, it was done. Unfortunately, there’s no additional room for people to do anything about it,” Colleen Kiernan of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club states.
Taking away the protections threatens a variety of factors inside and outside the coast’s ecosystem.
“Our salt marshes are rich ecosystems that serve as nurseries for many of the fish, shrimp, and oysters that provide food and jobs to Georgians; they protect our coast from storm surges; and they help to filter pollutants out of the water,” Environment Georgia stated in their call-to-action email.
“This announcement means that the EPD will no longer require buffers for projects that border saltwater marshes. This decision puts our wetlands, and the species that rely on them, at risk.”
Kiernan noted that rumors had been circulating about the rollback benefiting a specific developer, but she could not definitively place culpability.
She did say, however, that certain areas in Georgia will be affected more than others: “Some parts of Chatham County have more stringent ties to the marshes. McIntosh County is also particularly affected.”
Despite the announced changes, Environment Georgia is nevertheless calling for citizens to contact Governor Nathan Deal to let him know the rollback is unacceptable. They are hoping pressure from Georgians will convince him to reverse this decision.
Citizens may use this link to email Gov. Deal today: http://www.webaction.org/site/R?i=s16frLj-e0EgsJuxfFrPzA