PICAYUNE — Mr. Gus II - a leaning, rusting 56-year-old derelict oil platform - has worn out its welcome on the Pascagoula waterfront, and it's time to go. Port records show the eyesore has been around since mid-2006, and it's now spoiling the view of new developments like Lighthouse Park and Anchor Square as well as the site of the city's multi-million dollar riverfront investment that is being shopped to investors. Everyone seems to agree that the decaying rig needs to be moved - the owner, Dallas businessman Mike Mullen; Signal, where the rig is parked, and the city. The question is where? We suggest the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico as part of the "Rigs to Reef" program. Mr. Mullen purchased the rig for $100,000 hoping to make a profit by selling it for scrap. When the price of scrap metal plummeted, that plan was put on hold and the rig has just sat in its current location. The current price of scrap metal would have to nearly double for the project to become profitable, according to Signal officials. The city's Code Enforcement sent a letter to Signal in the summer and had a subsequent meeting about potential safety concerns to river traffic. Ron Schnoor, a senior vice president and general manager of Mississippi operations for Signal, said the rig is not a hazard. In all of the discussion, however, it seems like the "Rigs to Reef" option hasn't been seriously explored, and Mr. Gus II seems like a prime candidate. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources operates the program in which old oil and gas production platforms can be donated to the state to be sunk, creating underwater habitat attracting fish and other aquatic life. The state cannot pay the cost of relocation, but the value of the rig and expenses associated with donation are tax deductible. The rig has already been cleaned for demolition, so it surely would pass inspection to be sunk. Mr. Mullen and Mr. Schnoor seem resigned to the fact they will never make a profit off the Mr. Gus II scrap venture. Mr. Gus II, when it was a functioning rig, was a popular fishing spot in the Gulf. Making it a prime fishing location under the Gulf and ridding the Pascagoula waterfront of an eyesore seems like a win-win.
State should make vendor access easier
It’s too hard for companies to track down information on how to sell goods and services to state government and Mississippi should make it easier to do business with the state, a legislative watchdog group said.
New tuition gap may have unintended consequences
As part of the settlement in the Ayers case that challenged segregation in Mississippi’s higher education’s system, the state adopted the same admissions standards for all eight universities.
State, local gov’ts work to support Corps facilities
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains three facilities in our community, the Engineer Research and Development Center, the Mississippi Valley Division headquarters, and the Vicksburg District headquarters.
Lawmaker wants poultry label law
State Rep. Tom Miles says the Department of Agriculture allows chickens slaughtered in the United States to be processed in China with no labeling requirements for products shipped back to the United States, and he hopes to address the issue next year.
Spend wisely every penny of settlement money for BP oil spill
Over the next five years, the state of Mississippi will receive its portion of the financial settlement of criminal charges against BP and Transocean for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The $356 million is a significant amount, and its wise outlay can do much to restore the damage done to the Gulf and our most precious natural resources.
State pension results in eye of beholder
Mississippi’s public employee pension fund saw its financial position improve last year.
Or it didn’t.
Miss. schools need action, latest NEAP scores show
The National Center for Education Statistics released its 2013 Nation’s Report Card on Thursday, and the news for Mississippi was mixed, at best.
Philippines storm sparks memories on Coast, we must send aid
It is difficult to look at the scenes of utter devastation in the Philippines and not recall a landscape of great similarity that we all saw when Katrina swept away the Mississippi Coast on that late August day of fury.
School, government finances codependent
Grab the nearest kindergartner and tell her this: Stay in school and study hard because Mississippi’s long-term economic outlook depends on you. If you slack off and drop out before getting a decent level of education, your state government — that is, your fellow citizens — might have to pay higher interest rates to retire long-term public debt 20 years from now.
Bipartisan consensus means issue at critical mass
You know a government policy issue is gaining traction when there is bipartisan agreement that something has to be done.
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