Permit for Sea Island’s groin project did not violate Shore Protection Act.

Topic: Environmental Law, Decided by Judge Miller 
Docket Number: 1630908 , Decision Date: 2016-08-26 
Attachment: Click here to download the decision. 

The Shore Protection Committee issued a permit to Sea Island Acquisition, LLC, for the construction and maintenance of a rock groin near the southern end of Sea Island in Glynn County.  The new groin would be accompanied by beach nourishment and dune construction.  Petitioners—consisting of environmental advocacy groups—argued that the groin project violated the Shore Protection Act.  The Court upheld the permit’s issuance, finding that the proposed groin (1) minimized, to the extent possible, the effects to the sand-sharing system; (2) would not unreasonably harm the dynamic dune field and the sand-sharing system; (3) would not unreasonably interfere with the conservation of sea turtles or shorebirds; and (4) would not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of public properties.  The Court also rejected the Petitioners’ argument that the permit’s issuance violated the Shore Protection Act because “reasonable or viable alternatives” to the groin existed, as that provision only applied to permits for “shoreline stabilization activities,” and the permitted project—for groin construction, beach nourishment, and dune rebuilding—did not involve “shoreline stabilization activities” as that term is used in the Act.