Center Comments on Proposed DNR Marsh Rules, January 9, 2007
Center for a Sustainable Coast
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
1. The proposed rules weaken current legal interpretation of the Marsh
Act by attempting to circumvent and contradict the findings in case law
decisions issued over the past several years by three different judges.
This is being done by proposing to constrain complete review of the
entire project, which would otherwise provide the basis to ensure that
the marsh is protected from all possible adverse impacts of the
2. It is premature and inappropriate for the Board to advance rules for
interpreting the Marsh Act while the DNR has itself filed an appeal that
will result in a decision that will undoubtedly set a new legal
precedent for making such an interpretation. This creates confusion
among the affected public and wastes staff time for what will be, in
effect, a provisional and temporary set of rules that will have to be
revised, publicly reviewed and then reissued after the final appeal
ruling is made.
3. Language such as 'to the extent practicable' provides ambiguous
escape clauses throughout these proposed rules that are likely to serve
as loopholes that will weaken enforcement of the Marsh Act. There's too
much language in these rules that creates an impression of good
intentions while providing no reliable means to ensure that the marsh
will be consistently protected through their implementation. As a
result, interpretation of the Act remains highly subject to legal
disputes, and confusion is not reduced for either the applicant or those
representing the public interest.
Copies of these proposed rules are available by mail and can be reviewed on the CRD website:
http://crd.dnr.state.ga.us. Please call DNR at 912-264-7218 to request copies by mail.