Paper of Gulf Islands Conservancy
and Mississippi Sierra
This is a stealth amendment, which is controversial
legislation tacked onto a Senate appropriations bill. This is an
underhanded way to do business. They are trying to authorize potentially
damaging seismic oil and gas exploration activities on the fragile
barrier islands that make up our national park, the Gulf Islands
National Seashore. The amendment allows oil and gas drilling under
the park as well. If jet skis are considered too detrimental for
the national park, what is the impact of setting off dynamite charges
within the park in order to explore for oil and gas?
Sun Herald April 9,
Knowledgeable people have clearly stated
that oil and gas drilling will lead to subsidence, which is the
sinking of the islands. As oil and gas are withdrawn, portions
of the land surrounding and under the island will sink in order
to fill the vacuum that results. As land subsides, or sinks, the
islands become more vulnerable to “washover” during
hurricanes. You need look no further than the neighboring state
of Louisiana to view this well documented geologic phenomenon where
many square miles of Louisiana coast and wetlands are lost on an
annual basis. While providing less than 3 percent of the state’s
job base, the oil industry is responsible for destroying up to
40 percent of the state’s coastal wetlands.
Sun Herald March 18,
There are appropriate locations to drill for oil and gas offshore,
and there are inappropriate. It is inappropriate to endanger the
crown jewels of Mississippi, which are our Gulf Islands National
Park. The legislation, drafted by the oil industry executive Joe
Simms, opened up an astonishing 225,000 acres of water bottoms
surrounding the park islands for oil and gas drilling. The Coast
has a $500 plus million dollar tourism industry. Why would we want
to jeopardize that?
The Biloxi City Council voted unanimously
to oppose the legislation that would allow oil and gas drilling
in state waters off the Mississippi Coast. The resolution, which
was offered by Mayor A.J. Holloway, said that offshore oil and
gas drilling “may diminish the
quality and appearance of coastal wetlands and horizon” and “will
adversely affect the tourism and seafood industry.” The Jackson
and Harrison county boards of supervisors have passed resolution
The April 15, 2005 issue of Southern Living
Magazine again lists Ship Island as one of the editor’s favorite spots to see
a sunset, enjoy at stroll, go stargazing and more. The selection
of Ship Island “means it is a great place to get away from
everything manmade……If you want to go out and see
nature at it’s best, see the peace and beauty of the south.
This is the kind of place you go to.” This will cease to
exist with oil and gas drilling around the islands.
If you want to see what oil and gas drilling
has done for tourism, visit Dauphin Island. There isn’t
a motel or hotel on Dauphin Island that you and your family would
want to stay in.The islands beaches are filthy, noisy and dominated
by massive unsightly drilling platforms. Even worse, there is
a unnatural turbidity (murkiness) of the water. Real estate values
have been impacted as well.
In addition, Exxon Mobil was fined $11.9
billion for attempting to defraud the state of Alabama out of
hundreds of million of dollars in offshore oil and gas royalties.
This was the largest punitive damage award in the U.S. in 2003.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey said the company’s efforts revealed a “concerted,
clandestine and multifaceted scheme” to defraud the state.
Understand that we aren’t just risking
a natural treasure. If we lose the islands, we lose a large portion
of the seafood industry AND we lose protection from hurricanes
that could end up costing hundreds of millions.
The Clarion Ledger recently reported that $1 billion is being
invested in high rise condominium development on the Coast in the
next five years. The Mississippi Gulf Coast attracts such development
because it provides one of the last unobstructed views of the southern
Clarion Ledger April
Finally; the federal government needs
to buy out the mineral rights from the state; completing the
job of purchasing the National Park. This will provide money
up front to the education trust fund in one lump sum. Rather
than “gambling” on possibly
discovering and extracting oil and gas reserves five to ten years
from now. This idea is not new; the Bush Adm. appropriated 235
million to purchase mineral rights under Big Cypress Natl. Preserve
in Florida in 2001 and 2002.
The U.S. uses 25% of the world’s energy
yet only has 3% to 5% of the world’s reserves. Drilling will
NOT solve the problem BUT conservation WILL. If we reach 40 mpg
as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard for
fleets, which is achievable with hybrid cars, that would eliminate
the need for offshore oil and gas development and our dependence
on Middle Eastern oil.
Call or write Sen. Cochran,
and tell him No Drilling! Call Leland Speed, Dir. Of Ms. Development
Authority who is in charge of leasing and express your opposition.
- Sen. Thad Cochran 113 Dirksen Off. Bldg Wash. D.C. 20510 call:202-224-5054
- Leland Speed P.O. Box 849 Jackson Ms.39205-0849 call: 601-359-3449.