By The Sun Herald
The Picayune Item
At a rather remote location in Jackson County, the Commission on Marine Resources will be treated to an “informational presentation” on the Mississippi Development Authority’s burning desire to plant oil and gas rigs and platforms in and around the Mississippi Sound and the barrier islands.
The commission oversees the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The MDA apparently needs a “determination” from the DMR that MDA’s rules and regulations for oil and gas exploration and extraction are consistent with DMR’s vision of the state’s “coastal zone.”
We continue to hope not.
Given the recent, present and foreseeable condition of the oil and gas market, there is no justification for any energy industry activity within sight of the state’s coastline or its barrier islands.
This was made clear when an MDA spokesman came to the Coast trying to sell the notion of offshore drilling.
Asked if anyone was interested in leasing any of the state’s waters for oil or gas exploration, the MDA spokesman said “no.”
Asked if the price of gas — particularly natural gas— would have to skyrocket before anyone would be interested, the MDA spokesman said “yes.”
So why was MDA so determined to put in place a process that no one seemed interested in? In essence, the MDA spokesman responded “because we can.”
Well, not on their own they can’t. Otherwise there would be no need for the MDA to seek anything resembling approval from the DMR.
How many times and in how many ways must the following points be made?
Tourism is at least a $6 billion industry in Mississippi, and the Coast has the lion’s share of it.
The biggest and best tourism asset the Coast has is the pristine view of the Mississippi Sound along U.S. 90 and of the Gulf of Mexico from the beaches of the barrier islands.
No agency of government and no holder of high office should be permitted to put our livelihoods, our quality of life or our environment at risk.