Five areas threatened by impacts related to energy production, from offshore drilling in Alabama to mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee to 'fracking' in Virginia







The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), which has used the power of the law to defend the South's natural resources for 25 years, today released its third annual list of the top ten places in the South that face immediate, potentially irreversible damage in 2011. This year's list shows that the nation's most urgent environmental issues are playing out in the Southeast, especially the way we produce and use energy.


For more detailed descriptions of each endangered area, SELC's protection efforts, photographs and video, visit

"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, SELC's Director of Development. "Decisions made today about how we extract and produce energy will have consequences for decades to come. The key message behind our Top Ten list is that there is still time to save these special places—but we need to act now."

Specifically, this year's list covers current and potential impacts of offshore oil drilling on Alabama's coast, mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee, coal-fired power generation in Georgia, fracking to tap natural gas in Virginia, and more.

"The South's energy choices aren't just affecting our own backyard," said Hawthorne. "If our six-state region were a country, it would be the seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world."

SELC, the largest organization dedicated to defending the South's environment and special places, is using its full range of law and policy tools to implement cleaner, cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels and to promote forward-looking, sustainable options that enable the region to prosper while remaining healthy and beautiful for future generations.