Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alabama coastline named 1 of 10 most endangered places in the South

The Alabama coastline has been named one of the 10 most endangered places in the South by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Although Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida saw plenty of oil, Alabama’s coastline was the only one singled out for the list, because of this quirk: For its purposes, the Law Center defines the South as a six-state region including Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia.

The threat to the coast is ongoing, even though the oil spill has been
over for months, according to the group, which contends that federal drilling laws still don’t have enough teeth to prevent another major spill.

A statement from the group touts its “legal efforts to strengthen oversight and regulation of offshore drilling, and to ensure that nothing
like the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is allowed to happen again.”

The group does a new list annually. Last
year, Alabama’s Black Warrior River (right) was singled out as one of the most endangered places.

Other places on this year’s list were highlighted due to various industrial projects, including hydroelectric dams, coal mines, bridge construction and hydraulic fracking for natural gas production.

A central theme of the group’s report involves energy, both producing it
and consuming it. The South, according to the group, relies on coal-fired power plants and allows particularly destructive mining practices, including mountaintop removal coal mining (at left) and strip mines.

“Our region is headed down a path that threatens to overwhelm the Southern landscapes we love — our mountains, rivers, coast and rural countryside,” said Marie Hawthorne, with the group. “Decisions made
today about how we extract and produce energy will have consequences for decades to come.”

The group contends that if the six states in which it works were a single country, it would be the sixth-largest carbon dioxide source on Earth. Carbon dioxide is one of the key greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

Source: for the Mobile Register,"Alabama coastline named 1 of 10 most endangered places in the South", accessed January 26, 2011

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