SELC’s mission is to promote livable communities; to defend healthy air and clean water; and to protect our forests, coasts, wetlands, and other native landscapes in Virginia and across the Southeast.
SELC uses an effective blend of strategic leadership, legal and policy expertise, public education, and local partnerships to obtain significant, lasting results.
SELC seeks to maintain its capacity to address the most significant environmental challenges facing our region, including:
Fulfilling this vision requires sustaining a team of outstanding law and policy professionals who are currently engaged in more than 230 active cases and projects. In recent years SELC has added superb litigators to this team, which greatly enhances our ability to make certain that environmental laws are faithfully enforced.
SELC charges no fees for the legal services and policy assistance it provides, relying instead on the charitable support of individuals, families, and foundations.
Founded in 1986, the Southern Environmental Law Center is the Southeast’s leader in environmental protection. By working simultaneously at the national, regional, state, and local levels, and in all three branches of government, we are able to shape, enact, implement, and enforce environmental law and policy. SELC serves the six states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. We integrate regional perspective with place-based action and results.
The key to SELC’s success is our highly credentialed team of 70 attorneys, many of whom have been with SELC for 15 years or more, which gives us remarkable depth. As a group, we have earned a reputation as the foremost environmental team in the region and one of the most effective organizations in the country. Moreover, our senior policy experts are recognized nationally in their fields. SELC has built and perfected an institutional model that gives us the flexibility to address issues quickly as they arise, as well as the staying power to undertake complex, multi-year cases and projects.
SELC’s efforts to improve air and water quality, to speed the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, to broaden transportation options, and to promote vibrant and livable communities benefit the residents of the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama.
Collaboration is an essential element of SELC’s successful law and policy model. Our attorneys provide legal services, strategic guidance, and policy assistance to more than 200 local, state, and national organizations, such as the James River Association and the Partnership for Smarter Growth. Our collaborations bolster the effectiveness of our partners and help to achieve our shared conservation goals.
SELC is advancing changes in transportation policy and investments at the federal, state, and local levels that will curb pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and transform development patterns that have made the Southeast the country’s fastest-sprawling region. As SELC staves off ill-conceived highway proposals, it is championing smarter growth, repair and maintenance of existing roads and bridges, and increased investment in more sustainable transportation alternatives, such as rail and transit.
Heavy reliance on coal-burning power generation has made the Southeast one of the largest sources of global warming emissions in the world. SELC is engaged in a clean energy initiative to change the energy paradigm of the region and is focusing on three primary goals: 1) promote greater utility investment in clean and renewable energy sources, including solar power, wind power, and energy efficiency; 2) maximize the retirement of old and inefficient coal-burning power plants; and 3) prevent the construction of any new coal-fired plants in its states.
SELC seeks to protect the South’s cleanest waters, to rescue the most polluted ones, and to make sure there is enough water flowing in rivers and streams to support a healthy and diverse array of aquatic life and to prevent harmful buildups of pollution. SELC’s strategies range from ensuring enforcement of the Clean Water Act to helping growing communities control polluted runoff, one of the greatest threats to water quality in the region.
SELC is defending the 4.7 million acres of national forests in the Southern Appalachians from inappropriate logging and commercial resource extraction. Program goals are to make certain these public lands are managed to protect their natural assets, including unfragmented wildlife habitat, headwater streams that feed major rivers and drinking water supplies, old growth and other rare ecosystems, and backcountry places where the public can experience nature unspoiled.
SELC is shielding the Southeast’s
coastal and wetland treasures and the ecological and economic benefits they
provide from an array of threats, including unrelenting development
pressures, lax enforcement of environmental laws, and the push to open new
waters to offshore drilling.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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