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State agency eases law addressing erosion, sedimentation

The Erosion & Sedimentation Act is a Georgia law that prescribes various practices to prevent soil erosion and to control sediment pollution throughout the state. One of those requirements is that marshfront properties erect 25-foot protective barriers to prevent erosion and provide filtration of storm waters. Compliance with this rule isn’t always easy, though, because determining boundary lines on marshfront properties can be difficult.

Recently, the state Environmental Protection Division made it easier to comply with the state law by removing the requirement on various marshfront properties. The memo basically says that no buffer is required on property fronts where there is no “wrested vegetation.” The latter refers to locations where swift-moving water prevents vegetation from taking root on a bank.  

The change will remove responsibility of many homeowners for providing a buffer on marshfront property, but has drawn the criticism of some Georgia environmentalists, who say that the change will not only remove the beneficial environmental effects of buffering, but will also increase the risk of flooding developments.

Erosion control and management of sediment pollution are important aspects of environmental law put in place to protect not only the environment, but also people. When an individual, developer or other business fails to abide by state and federal environmental laws, harm can result to the environment and to individuals. Those impacted by such incidents may be able to seek recourse through litigation, whether to obtain damages, a court order, or some other appropriate remedy. Working with an experienced environmental lawyer is important, though, and will help to achieve the best outcome in the case.

Source: Savannah Morning News, “Georgia environmental agency eases marsh protection rule,” Marc Landers, April 22, 2014. 

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