The environmental advocacy group One Hundred Miles is chartering a bus to take area residents to Atlanta in February to talk to legislators about issues facing the Georgia coast.
The trip to the state capitol is set for Feb. 18 and is free, but space is limited. Those interested in participating should email Jovan Sage, the organization’s director of community engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 912-577-7433.
Sage said the one-day trip is aimed at connecting those who live on the coast with those who set policy.
“This bus ride is about everyday citizens taking an active role in positively helping to shape the coast,” she said. “It is going to take each and every one of us doing our part to insure a beautiful coast for generations to come.”
Feb. 18 is 2015 Conservation Day at the state capitol, and Sage said One Hundred Miles will be one of a number of environmental groups there to promote various causes.
One Hundred Miles will be partnering with Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Sage said, to try to bring a larger presence from the area to Atlanta.
Though the bus trip is free, those who participate will have to buy their own lunch. The bus will leave from the Super Wal Mart on Ogeechee Road in Savannah at 5 a.m. and return at 7 p.m.
During the approximately four-hour ride to Atlanta, One Hundred Miles staff members will talk with riders about how to campaign effectively for the coast, Sage said.
Once there, the group will connect with other groups, sit in on hearings and talk to local lawmakers, Sage said.
Two issues are currently at the forefront of One Hundred Miles advocacy efforts.
The most recent is a response to Tuesday reports of plans by President Barack Obama to allow drilling for oil off the Georgia and South Carolina Coast.
One Hundred Miles has already issued statements opposing the plan, joining a number of other environmental groups who say the plan will negatively impact the Georgia Coast.
The other is legislation to protect the marshes through a 25 foot buffer. The state has one, but defining where the buffer begins underwent a makeover last year on Earth Day when Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Jud Turner issued a directive changing the way he EPD determines marsh buffers.
Since 2004, the state had determined the marsh to end where “certain designated marsh plants stop growing,” according to the Georgia Conservancy website, and the buffer is 25 feet landward from that point.
That was aimed at clarifying the state’s 1978 Erosion and Sedimentation Act, which established a 25-foot buffer along the state’s waters beginning from the point of “wrested vegetation,” meaning plant life that is “twisted or torn clear by the natural movement of water,” according to the Georgia Conservancy.
Coastal advocates say that rule applies more to mountain streams and rivers where the water is fast moving, and on the coast tidal action doesn’t always created wrested vegetation.
Turner’s directive, which he said is aimed at making the law easier to enforce at the local level, says if there’s no wrested vegetation there’s no marsh buffer, according to environmentalists.
For more information about One Hundred Miles, go to http://www.onehundredmiles.org/.