Monday, December 03, 2007

Protect our endangered species say NO to the Richton Site

The Pascagoula River basin is home to species that exist nowhere else in the world. Gopher tortoises and black pine snakes live along the proposed pipelines, said Rebecca Stowe, director of the Nature Conservancy's office in Merrill. The river itself is home to the endangered Gulf sturgeon and yellow-blotched map turtle, and the pearl darter, a fish whose status is under consideration. Of the sites under consideration for the new reserve, DOE documents say only development of the Richton site could harm endangered species.

It's a no brainer the Richton site should not be considered. We must protect our endangered species.

The brine water will be shot through a diluting machine into a major migration pathway for young shrimp and other economically important sea life, said fisheries expert Mark Peterson of the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Lab. Many creatures important to the seafood industry reproduce offshore, and their young depend on currents to get to estuaries near shore, where they mature. Areas near Horn Island could see a large jump in salinity from the salt dome plan, forcing many young off their path. Some creatures may die. The brine will be heavier than the water around it, he said. It will sink to the lowest point in the Sound, which is the Pascagoula Ship Channel. Ships passing through could move the water northward, into the estuaries and the river.

"As for pipelines carrying brine running along freshwater bodies, all you have to do is have one 36-inch pipe break. Everything surrounding it would be killed," Peterson said. The current assessment, he said, doesn't take into account all the "what-ifs."

Not to mention the havoc that will be caused to our seafood industry.

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