News | August 24, 2016

SELC veteran Gil Rogers named to oversee Georgia, Alabama work

SELC is extremely pleased to announce Gil Rogers’ new role as Director of our Atlanta office, overseeing SELC’s work in Georgia and Alabama.

Rogers’ new title adds to the many he has held at SELC, from summer intern to associate attorney, from staff attorney to senior attorney. Rogers graduated from Princeton then went on to Harvard Law School. Even before starting law school, he knew his goal was to tackle the many legal, regulatory, and political challenges facing the South’s environment. At SELC he has managed to do that with aplomb, focusing much of his work on SELC’s Clean Water program, which he leads. This work also has earned him recognition as the Georgia Water Conservationist of the Year and as an Alabama River Hero.

There were two attorneys in the Atlanta office in 2002 when Rogers started working there, and no office space in Birmingham. Now he will oversee 12 attorneys in Atlanta and 4 attorneys in the Birmingham office, which opened six years ago.

Below Rogers shares some of his thoughts on the future of SELC, the special places of the South, and what it’s like to spend your career at one organization.

What are some of the biggest cases and issues in the Birmingham and Atlanta offices right now?

We’ve had great recent wins in our solar work with Georgia lawmakers opening up the state to innovative solar financing arrangements, and just this summer Georgia Power announced a significant increase in their renewable energy capacity. We’re also doing a lot of work with living shorelines on the coast, looking to create a more resilient infrastructure. And in our water work we’re involved with Alabama’s efforts to create its first water management plan, which will be a huge step forward for the state. We’re also working in multiple watersheds to make sure the Clean Water Act is enforced correctly. And these are just a couple highlights.

Tell us how you see the two offices interacting?

When I first started, I was doing a lot of our Alabama work out of my car in Birmingham. Now we’ve grown our presence there into a robust satellite office, which is great to see. And the two offices work together a lot, using our experiences in one state to inform our approach in the other, sharing resources and expertise. We’ve got fantastic people doing great work and I see my role as facilitating that, while providing any mentorship or guidance I can offer.

What do you think makes SELC unique?

While we are a regional organization, operating in six states and engaging on the federal and state level, playing a meaningful local role is central to our work. It’s key that we know these communities and be a part of the communities where we work.

What was the first case you worked on at SELC?

After my first year of law school I interned in Charlottesville and it was all transportation work. I helped Deborah Murray and Trip Pollard with plans for new ways to address congestion on Route 29. At that time, I didn’t even know that road projects had so many environmental impacts. I’ve learned a lot since then.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I always like to challenge myself so I’m aiming to run a half-marathon in all 50 states; I’ll reach double-digits this fall. I also enjoy gardening, playing the piano, and staying involved with The Village Theatre, an improv school and theatre in Atlanta I helped set up.

Any closing thoughts?

We have really great people and a really good track record of getting results and leveraging those results across the region. I’m keen on keeping that dynamic alive and well and supporting people doing environmental protection work in a part of the world that has so much at stake and such a challenging landscape. But I always like a good challenge.