Among all the great non-profits in North Carolina, one of my favorites is the Southern Environmental Law Center. They're doing the hard work of supporting the good guys by taking on the bad guys, and they're very, very good at what they do.
My first serious encounter with SELC was on a field trip to the OLF site in Washington County. Not only was it a transformational experience, it got me on the NO-OLF bandwagon in a big way. Much of the success in stopping the Navy's reckless plan goes to the lawyers at SELC, who handled the case masterfully, to my knowledge.
"SELC's commitment to the South is: we will not accept unhealthy air, polluted water, poorly planned growth, and the decline of our natural treasures," says SELC founder and executive director Rick Middleton. "We do not have to live like this, and our children have a right to the same beautiful, natural areas from the mountains to the coast that we've enjoyed. SELC is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than ever, and we are working hard for you during these urgent and challenging times."
I especially like the way the SELC structures its work to focus on a small handful of pressing issues. They operate in six states, with their North Carolina headquarters located in Chapel Hill.
On the front burner for SELC these days is Duke Energy's continuing assault on reason and the environment with its ill-advised Cliffside Mercury Production Facility. Here's the opening paragraph of their recent press release:
In light of a pivotal federal court ruling last month, 19 environmental groups are urging the North Carolina Division of Air Quality to reopen the air quality permit it finalized for Duke Energy’s proposed new unit at its Cliffside power plant earlier this year. The permit, which is based on state and federal regulations that have been invalidated by the court’s ruling, is illegal under the Clean Air Act because it fails to identify or require the most stringent pollution control standards for mercury. In a letter filed with DAQ today, the groups urged the state agency to reopen the Cliffside permit to evaluate the maximum achievable controls for mercury, and then either modify or revoke the permit based on that analysis.
Check out the SELC website, and if you have a minute, register for updates. It's a great way to keep abreast of all the good work they're doing on behalf of We the People and Mother Earth.
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