On Tuesday, October 11, South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP) announced the launch of the Building Up Our Defense Campaign, its first campaign since the founding by the late Jimmy Chandler 35 years ago.
“We are facing the reality that our state’s existing system of environmental regulation is failing to protect our land, water, and communities from accelerating degradation of life-sustaining conditions,” explains Executive Director Amy Armstrong. With requests for SCELP’s assistance up 85% in the last year alone, “it’s clear that South Carolina’s natural systems need us more than ever,” says Armstrong.
Funds raised through the $2.6 million Building Up our Defense Campaign will substantially expand SCELP’s capacity to take on critical cases and issues across the state by enabling them to deploy more lawyers in South Carolina communities and execute more structured and more resourceful legal strategies. “SCELP’s lawyers are excellent strategists and litigators. They are willing to fight the long fight and persevere against long odds. And they know how to win,” says campaign steering committee member and Coastal Conservation League founder Dana Beach. At the campaign’s launch, Beach reported that community support for Building Up our Defense is strong. Together, volunteers have already secured commitments of nearly $2 million, 77 percent of SCELP’s overall campaign goal.
SCELP has three priorities in the years ahead. The first is stopping the degradation of essential natural systems. To achieve success, SCELP will not only act as the last line of defense against harmful land uses, but will also focus on using innovative legal tools and rebalancing our legal system to be more in tune with long-term human prosperity. Next is protecting water from current and future threats—whether holding polluters accountable, protecting our state’s diverse wetlands, or advancing rules that protect water quality. Advancing environmental justice is the organization’s third strategic priority where SCELP will give communities in need an effective voice and legal muscle in processes when they would otherwise be financially foreclosed or procedurally marginalized.
“Year after year we’ve stayed the course through protracted legal battles—no matter how many years it takes—and protected South Carolina’s lands, waters, and communities while establishing precedents that will better protect the health of our natural systems long into the future,” says Armstrong. “Through this campaign, donors will have a profound impact on our ability to continue fighting and winning for future generations.”
Learn more or make a donation at scelp.org/capital-campaign.
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Amy Armstrong, Esquire
Executive Director, South Carolina Environmental Law Project
firstname.lastname@example.org, (843) 527-0078