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Georgia Wild Coast in Jeopardy

Georgia’s 100-mile coastline remains one of the most unspoiled stretches of the Eastern seaboard, but a proposed marina and residential resort near Cumberland Island National Seashore could open the door to Myrtle Beach-scale development. The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Southern Environmental Law Center’s case against Cumberland Harbour, which will help determine the future of the Georgia coast and the power of a state law to defend its extensive marshlands.

SELC has won a series of legal decisions under Georgia’s Coastal Marshlands Protection Act that require the state to safeguard coastal marshes from the damaging effects of development. Last summer, however, the Court of Appeals issued an adverse ruling, so SELC has turned to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Seven former members of Georgia’s Board of Natural Resources filed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of SELC’s petition for Supreme Court review. Much is at stake in the case, which is the Georgia Supreme Court’s first opportunity to interpret the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act since it became law nearly 40 years ago.

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