The Southeastern United States is rich in historical significance and biological diversity. It’s also a region rife with poverty, low quality education and environmental distress.
The mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, forests and coastal areas that make the Southeastern U.S. a popular destination for tourists as well as scientific research face dire threats from those who want to exploit the natural resources they contain.
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), an environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the Southeast, recently announced its fourth annual list of the top 10 places in the South that face immediate, potentially irreparable threats in 2012.
“The South’s special places and natural riches are threatened by a wave of calculated attacks on the bedrock laws that protect our environment and health,” said Marie Hawthorne, SELC’s Director of Development. “Under the guise of promoting economic growth, anti-environmental forces are working in Congress, in state legislatures, and in government agencies to gut our most essential safeguards.
“The truth is, environmental protection had nothing to do with the financial crisis or today’s weak economy,” Hawthorne added. “Doing away with effective laws and enforcement will accomplish nothing except sacrifice the natural treasures like those on our Top 10 list and other resources that make the South such a great place live, work, and raise our families. We owe it to ourselves — and to future generations — to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
On the following pages, you’ll see breathtaking pictures of these endangered regions, some of which you may have visited or hoped to visit in your lifetime. Some might be right in your own backyard. During this election year, let’s resolve to keep conservation and environmentally-sound regulations at the forefront of the national conversation.
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