Solutions to climate change and environmental problems start in the South

When it comes to finding solutions to protect the people and environment of the South, the Southern Environmental Law Center is leading the way. More than 30 years of legal expertise, community connections, and deep appreciation of our region’s natural resources are what makes our organization ready to tackle our country's greatest environmental challenges, starting in our own backyard.

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Across our region, our attorneys are at the forefront of the issues that matter.

Confronting climate change

Climate change is the defining environmental challenge of our time—one we cannot solve in our country without solving it in the South.

Recognizing that the South is central to any solution to climate change, we’re working with Southern communities to adapt to rising seas and a changing climate, as well as making the transition towards clean renewable energy and cleaner transportation options. These efforts include removing barriers to solar power, advocating for better solutions to adapt to increased flooding, and pushing for greater energy efficiency across the region.

Listen to an overview of our latest podcast season, all about Southerners navigating sea level rise. 

Fighting for environmental justice

We know that communities of color and people with limited financial means too often bear the brunt of pollution and that legal and policy action are tools for recourse. To that end, we’re committed to addressing environmental injustices, promoting a more equitable future for the South, and upholding laws and policies that elevate the voices of impacted communities.

From opposing a water intake system from damaging sacred Monacan Indian Nation lands in Virginia to challenging a polluting waste recycling facility in Georgia that poses significant environmental and health risks to the thousands of Black neighbors living nearby, SELC is working to ensure a healthy environment for all.


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Ensuring clean air and water

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

Protecting the South’s waters against pollution is a top priority because we believe that everyone has the basic right to clean water. That’s why when the Trump administration eviscerated the Clean Water Act by proposing a major rollback—stripping protections that have been in place for decades and paving the way for the destruction of places like 400 acres of wetlands on the doorstep of the iconic Okefenokee Swamp, we stepped in.

We know that the South’s historic dependence on fossil fuels has burdened our communities with harmful air and water pollution for decades. As we pursue retiring coal plants across the South that negatively impact air quality, we’re also overseeing the cleanup of more than 255 million tons of toxic coal ash that have put our waterways at risk.

Listen to the Real Housewives of Coal Ash to hear how two North Carolina women learned their neighbor, Duke Energy, had been storing toxic coal ash in their backyard for years and fought it all the way to the state house.

Protecting our natural treasures and biodiversity

We’re working with national and local partners to oppose the significant weakening of the Endangered Species Act, which would impact the spectacularly biodiverse – and quickly developing - South in many ways. Our efforts to save wild red wolves from extinction are part of an ongoing federal lawsuit.


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We have our work cut out for us in the weeks and months ahead. Please consider making a donation to help us do what we do best— identify, implement, and uphold long-lasting solutions.

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