SOURCE: Southern Environmental Law Center

Southern Environmental Law Center

February 01, 2010 09:00 ET

Southern Environmental Law Center Set to Open New Office in Birmingham

New Birmingham Office Allows SELC to Work More Closely With Local Government, Partner Organizations on Alabama's Most Pressing Environmental Issues

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA--(Marketwire - February 1, 2010) - The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the largest environmental advocacy organization in the Southeast, today announced the opening of an office in Birmingham, Alabama this year.

"As a native of Birmingham, I am personally delighted that SELC will now have a full-time presence in my home state," said Rick Middleton, Executive Director and Founder of SELC. "Alabama has a remarkable array of landscapes and world-class biological diversity. SELC has done great work here over 20 years, but having an office in Birmingham will increase our impact and enable us and our partners to be even stronger defenders of Alabama's environment."

Ensuring healthy air and clean water in Alabama are top priorities for SELC heading into 2010. SELC's recently released "Clean Air for the Birmingham Area" report identifies action needed to clean up air in Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile. The Black Warrior River also was identified by SELC as one of the South's Top 10 Endangered Areas for 2010, and will be a focus for SELC's Birmingham office.

"Along with many community leaders, I am very happy that the South's pre-eminent environmental organization is dedicating even more resources to Alabama," said Dell Brooke, a philanthropic and community leader in Birmingham. "SELC knows how to get the job done, and will be an important ally in facing and solving our biggest environmental challenges when it comes to healthy air and clean water."

SELC's new Birmingham office will comprise two attorneys who can tap into a regional network of 45 attorneys throughout the South, which includes a presence on Capitol Hill through its Washington, DC office.

SELC comes to Birmingham with a winning track record on environmental issues: SELC won a unanimous victory for clean air in the U.S. Supreme Court, added protection for two million acres of Southern Appalachian national forest, and brought eight million acres of southern wetlands under federal protection for the first time. And earlier this year, among other victories in Alabama, SELC helped institute a new law that will help protect water quality in Weeks Bay, a biologically rich estuary that has been designated an Outstanding Natural Resource Water.

About the Southern Environmental Law Center

The mission of the non-profit Southern Environmental Law Center is to protect the environment and health of the Southeast. For more than 20 years, SELC has worked successfully in all three branches of government, leveraging the power of the law to inform, implement, and enforce environmental safeguards. SELC's major programs range from global warming and air quality to forest protection, coast and wetland conservation, and preservation of countryside and community character. SELC has approximately 80 staff members and offices in Charlottesville (SELC's headquarters) and Richmond, Virginia; Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington, DC. Visit SELC online at

About Rick Middleton

Rick Middleton founded the Southern Environmental Law Center in 1986. His inspiration for environmental law springs from his early personal and professional experiences in Alabama. After a law degree from Yale, Rick returned to Alabama in the 1970s to work for the state attorney general and played a major role in cleaning up Birmingham and Alabama's air quality under the new Clean Air Act. With subsequent experience in Washington, DC, in environmental law, Rick was convinced that the South needed special protection as he saw growth and development putting undue strain on its resources and natural treasures. Today, SELC has grown to comprise 80 employees in soon-to-be nine offices with 120 active cases and projects.

Contact Information

    Caroline March-Long
    On Behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center
    434-295-5938 - office
    [photos and interviews available upon request]