Insuring Continued Protection Under Georgia’s Shore Protection and Coastal Marshlands Protection Acts
Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) and Shore Protection Act (SPA) were enacted over 30 and 40 years ago, respectively, to protect Georgia’s special and fragile coastal areas. Both laws do this, in part, by disallowing development activity in shore and coastal marsh areas without obtaining a permit. For decades, these two critical laws have successfully prevented the type of unbridled and destructive development that has happened in every other coastal state in America.
In the 2013 legislative session, the Department of Natural Resources introduced legislation to substantially alter these two laws in a manner that would lessen protection of Georgia’s coastal areas. GreenLaw took the lead in successfully defeating this legislation. Knowing that DNR would attempt to re-introduce this legislation in the 2014 legislative session, GreenLaw brought together every major conservation group in the state to analyze the proposed changes, meet with DNR representatives and draft alternative language that would result in similar protection that historically had been provided.
As a result of this effort and dialogue, the Coastal Resources Division of DNR agreed to make some minor changes to the draft legislation, but several concerns were not adequately addressed to insure that the CMPA and SPA would continue to provide appropriate protection to Georgia’s coast. After these concerns continued to be conveyed, DNR indicated that it would not be pursuing this legislation in the 2014 session.