Press Release | March 24, 2015

Conservation Groups Call for Protection of Georgia Coast from Offshore Drilling

Final Public Meeting Concerning Mid- and South Atlantic Today in Savannah

Savannah, GA—Today’s final public meeting to address the Department of the Interior’s proposed plan to open up the Mid- and South Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling is expected to draw comments and concerns from Georgians who oppose the plan and its potential threats to local communities, economies, and iconic places of the Georgia coast.

Hosted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Savannah meeting will include information sessions about the proposed leasing activities. Residents will also have the opportunity to engage with BOEM staff with questions and submit written or electronic comments at the meeting, and can submit public comments online through March 30.

“Georgians across the state have serious concerns for our coast, made up of stunning marshes, wetlands, and barrier islands, and is one of the country’s most sensitive and cherished ecosystems.” said Jen Hilburn of Altamaha Riverkeeper. “We urge people to make their voices heard loud and clear that we do not want to destroy our beautiful coast, and we must protect the natural resources and environmental diversity that make this area so special.”

“Tourism and fishing – both commercial and recreational – are major economic drivers for the Georgia coast, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting our state’s economy by billions of dollars each year,” said Alice Keyes of One Hundred Miles. “Opening our shore up to offshore drilling would threaten the livelihood of the coastal communities that rely on healthy waters and clean beaches to support these industries.”

“It’s difficult to look at the devastation off the Gulf Coast and imagine that happening in our own state,” said Bill Sapp from the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We cannot let oil and gas interests have priority over the health, safety, and wellbeing of life along the Georgia coast. We ask that the Department of the Interior listen to the loud concerns of the Georgia communities that would be impacted and reverse its plan to begin drilling off our coast in 2017 before the damage is done.”

The public meeting will be held today, Tuesday, March 24 in Savannah from 3 PM to 7 PM at the Hyatt Regency Savannah.

For more information, including talking points and comment options, visit


Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of more than 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

Altamaha Riverkeeper:

Altamaha Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the habitat, water quality, and flow of the Altamaha river systems, Georgia's largest, from its headwaters in North Georgia to its terminus at the Atlantic Ocean near Darien.  ARK represents more than 1,200 members who live, work, and recreate in the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Ohoopee River Basins and their feeder streams that make up the 14,000 square mile Altamaha River Watershed. More information can be found at

One Hundred Miles:

One Hundred Miles is a coastal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and enhancing the 100-mile Georgia coast.  One Hundred Miles seeks to bring statewide attention to the opportunities and challenges facing Georgia’s unique coast. One Hundred Miles

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Bill Sapp

Senior Attorney specializing in wetlands and coastal issues

Phone: 404-521-9900