Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Some of the reasons relocating the CSX railroad is NOT acceptable and reasonable.
*The Sun Herald has done numerous pieces about the lack of affordable housing on the coast. Homes North of the Interstate were not destroyed by the storm surge, during Katrina. Destroying them now, in order to make way for the railroad would not only be cruel; it would create even more problems with affordable housing as millions of people would lose their homes. Millions of others would see their property values plummet when a railroad was plopped next door to them.
*The railroad tracks are on property not owned by CSX but exist by a prescriptive easement. This means if there is any attempt to cease the use of these tracks by the railroad the land will be returned to the heirs of this property. Either by direct purchase or even eminent domain, this would be an absolute legal nightmare involving hundreds of heirs of former property owners, it would be years before the land could be used for anything.
*The cost of moving the railroad, as estimated by the consulting firm of DMJM Harris of New Orleans, hired by Wayne Brown and MDOT, would be between $1.9 Billion and $2.9 Billion. That amount of money could rebuild every school, every bridge and most of the infrastructure on the entire Coast.
*The railroad tracks are not isolated to the state of Mississippi but are connected to the rail system coming from Alabama and Louisiana. Are these states going to move their tracks at the same time? If they don't we will be making a big, extremely expensive loop to accommodate a few peoples vision of what the Mississippi coast should look like?
*HARRY T. THAMES has yet to explain how having a roadbed parallel to and SOUTH of Highway 90 (which is where the railroad tracks are located in Jackson County) would be of benefit to anyone. If Highway 90 is damaged due to a hurricane it's logical to assume that any roadbed SOUTH of it would also be damaged.
*The plan to move the tracks is so flawed that the Jackson County Board of Supervisors in 2003 passed a resolution opposing this issue citing the reasons being” economically detrimental, interference with major transportation arteries, interference with county facilities, limiting growth and presenting a safety hazard as well as the impracticality of such a move.
The route for an additional east-west traffic corridor is obviously NOT along the CSX tracks and it's time the Sun Herald (September 4th, editorial) stopped beating a dead horse. It's past time for the residents of Biloxi & Gulfport, the casinos and The Sun Herald to start looking at alternatives to their traffic woes instead of trying to inflict their solution on neighboring counties.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
And the location for an additional east-west traffic corridor is obvious: along the route of the CSX tracks.
As for the expense, we cannot afford not to build it.
The obvious route is not along the CSX tracks and relocating the tracks North of the Interstate is unfair to those of us who have chosen to make our homes here. We do not deserve to lose our homes and our peaceful way of life because the denizens of Gulfport and Biloxi (mainly the casinos and The Sun Herald) want another east-west vehicular traffic corridor in addition to Highway 90. If they indeed do need another east-west vehicular traffic corridor they should look somewhere besides the CSX tracks.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Considering the initial plans were made days after Katrina struck the coast and involved little input from coast residents the delay is poetic justice. Hopefully now our voices will be heard and our objections will be taken into consideration.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The DOE proposes to use fresh water from the Pascagoula River basin to wash away the salt. The DOE then plans to pipe the briny solution from Richton to the Gulf of Mexico. That disposal method will require building yet another pipeline through the river basin.
That one-two punch to the ecology of South Mississippi has stirred considerable protest - except in the environs of Richton, a hamlet about two dozen miles east of Hattiesburg at the intersection of Mississippi highways 15 and 42.
They didn't want nuclear waste stored in the Richton Salt Dome back in the 70's and 80's and I don't blame them. But they should show the same concern for those of us who depend on fresh water from the Pascagoula River as well as for those whose livelihood depends on fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Say NO to the Richton Salt Dome and YES to protecting the Pascagoula River Basin.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I am still opposed to the project, especially the use of fresh water to hollow out the salt dome. I basically get the idea that they haven't looked at other alternatives as they are comfortable with this method as they have used it numerous times before. They need to realize that FRESH WATER is as important to us as OIL and that we need to conserve all our sources of fresh water, not waste them on hollowing out a salt dome. They also need to consider some sort of desalinization plant instead of dumping salt brine into the Gulf.
Others are also opposed to this project.
Dawkins, vice chairman of the Senate's committee for environmental protection, received multiple rounds of applause and two standing ovations for her statement that, among other things, called for the energy department to extend the public comment period.
"This is a half-baked plan, poorly thought out, just like the hearing in Jackson," Dawkins said, criticizing the timing and location of the initial hearings just months after Hurricane Katrina.
Dawkins pointed to environmental issues, especially concerning birds and fish that call the river their home. In addition, the land around the river could not stand up to the heavy equipment that would be required for the project, Dawkins said.
"If we allow you to alter it ... the entire system will change forever," Dawkins said.
They are taking public comments until April 29th.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve Project Management Office
Person to contact with your comments Donald Silawsky. His phone number is 202-586-1892, his fax number is 202-586-4446, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Envelopes and the subject line of emails or faxes should be labeled "Scoping for the SPR SEIS". Conventional mail to DOE may be delayed by anthrax screening, but if you choose to mail the letter here is the address.
Office of Petroleum Reserves (FE-47)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20585-0301
Articles in the local papers:
PUBLIC STAND AGAINST SALT DOME PLAN
Residents choose river, Gulf over oil reserve project
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I plan to attend I hope to see a large number of concerned citizens there.
For further reading
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Use water from the Gulf of Mexico rather than from the Pascagoula River system demands House of Representatives
Friday, March 07, 2008
Shepard said it is important that the Pascagoula River, which flows through George County, be protected.
Now if the DoE will just listen.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
• George County - April 9; 2-8 p.m.; George County Senior Center, 7102 Hwy. 198 E., Lucedale
• Jackson County: April 10; 2-8 p.m.; B.E. Mac McGinty Civic Center, 2902 Shortcut Road, Pascagoula.
Notice of Intent-Richton salt dome project The Department of Energy posted a notice of intent today for public meetings regarding the Richton salt dome project. The text of the NOI is below, and can be found at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/search.html, or www.fossil.energy.gov.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I am writing on behalf of the 204,000 members of the National Garden Clubs of America, and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, which has 4,433 members in its many garden clubs across the state. Since 1986, the Clower-Thornton Nature Area in Gulfport has been owned and operated by these two groups.
This area affords abundant enjoyment of nature right in the heart of Gulfport. It is located behind the former V.A. property on Railroad Street and runs for 12 acres to 28th Street. Coffee Creek runs through it.
At public meetings, it has been announced that three streets may be opened through the acreage. We are protesting this idea because this area is a protected Land Trust and the dedicated area has walking trails, both paved and natural, wetland areas, bogs, natural habitat and native wildlife. It also is a state wild bird watching area used by thousands of people every year.
This area is an outdoor classroom for education of nature, used by school children, garden clubs and nature lovers. Guided tours are also available.
Currently, a group is being assisted by Mississippi State University students to survey and plant 30-gallon trees to replace those destroyed by the storm.
This area was donated by Aida Clower in honor of her parents. And my husband gave two additional acres where Coffee Creek comes through, in honor of his father, A.C. Hutto Sr.
We protest any streets being cut into this wonderful area of green space in the city of Gulfport because it is a Land Trust that is owned by these groups. It is an outstanding green space and is considered a protected nature area.
ELSIE CRUTHIRDS HUTTO Gulfport
We took our sons Cub Scout Den there it is a lovely area and deserves to be protected.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Administrators had planned to open the nature trail and headquarters area this month, but they've decided to keep it closed until demolition of the old building is complete and the exhibits are installed.
I am looking forward to the Refuge's reopening.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and please come up to see the legislative process in person.
Your state representative-Hank Zuber
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Submitted by state Sen. Debbie Dawkins of Pass Christian, the bill says the standard measure of low water flow used by the state, 7Q10, is far too liberal, allowing the thirst of area projects to create drought conditions unsafe for wildlife in Pascagoula River waterways. Senate Bill 2890 calls on the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to come up with a tighter standard for how low the river can go.
Read the rest here
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Saturday, February 02, 2008
House Bill 282 was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr., a retired pharmaceutical salesman with DuPont-Merk. Its co-authors are Bobby Shows, a businessman, and John Read, a pharmacist.
The full text reads:
HOUSE BILL NO. 282
An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes. Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi:
(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) or more seats for customers.
(2) Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.
(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2008.
Yes, wonderful idea, discriminate against the obese. Way to go Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr, not only do you make the residents of Mississippi look like idiots, you make us look like intolerant idiots.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Read the rest in The Sun Herald
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Read the rest of the editorial in The Sun Herald.
Here are some of the native plants I saw along the Pascagoula River, when I visited The Pascagoula Audubon Center.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Read the rest of the article in The Mississippi Press.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The announcement comes after strong public protest against the project, which many say was approved as the Coast was dealing with the ravages of Katrina, with little regard for environmental or economic consequences.
Some good news at last. Read more about it in The Sun Herald.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
I wish to take issue with Rep. Gene Taylor's assertion that the United States Navy has, in the words of The Mississippi Press' Jan. 18 editorial, "been using nuclear power for decades without incident." In making this statement, both Rep. Taylor and The Mississippi Press are in error. The actual list of "incidents" includes:
- In 1961, the USS Theodore Roosevelt was contaminated when radioactive waste from its demineralization system blew back onto the ship after an attempt to dispose of the material at sea.
- On Dec. 12, 1971, approximately 500 gallons of radioactive coolant water was spilled into the Thames River near New London, Conn., during a transfer from the submarine USS Dace to the submarine tender USS Fulton.
- In 1975, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Guardfish was contaminated with radioactive waste from its reactor coolant water system during disposal at sea.
- Sometime during October to November of 1975, the submarine tender USS Proteus discharged radioactive coolant water into Apra Harbor, Guam, contaminating two of the harbor's public beaches with radiation 50 times the allowable dose.
- On May 22, 1978, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Puffer mistakenly released up to 500 gallons of radioactive water near Puget Sound, Washington.
This list does not include the losses of the nuclear-powered submarines USS Thresher and USS Scorpion. While their losses were unrelated to nuclear propulsion, their reactors are still sitting on the ocean floor, making it a matter of time before radioactive material is released. This list also doesn't include accidents involving nuclear weapons or incidents at shore-based facilities.
Finally, Rep. Taylor's assertion does not take into account the U. S. Navy's policy of not releasing information on incidents involving nuclear power. For example, OPNAVINST 3040.5B instructs naval commanders they "may not need to contact all the relevant authorities" if an incident occurs in a foreign port. This is in direct contradiction to the U. S. government's "Standard statement on the operation of U.S. nuclear powered warships in foreign ports" which states, "the appropriate authorities of the host government will be notified immediately in the event of an accident involving the reactor of the warship, during a port visit." In other words, knowledge of any "incidents" may not be in the public domain.
It is true that the U. S. Navy has operated nuclear-powered vessels for over 50 years (beginning with the USS Nautilus in 1954) without a reactor meltdown or a catastrophic release of radioactive material. This is due in large part to the design of their reactors and the rigorous training of their personnel. It is also a wise strategy to legislate the next generation of surface combatants be nuclear-powered to reduce our navy's vulnerability to disruptions in the oil supply. But it is misleading at best to declare U.S. naval operations involving nuclear power have been without incident.
Rep. Taylor should know better than to make such a statement and The Mississippi Press should know better than to repeat it without verification.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Using water from the river is a key part of a U.S. Department of Energy plan to hollow an underground salt dome in Richton for use as an emergency petroleum reserve.
Traveling on Benny McCoy's river and marsh tour boat, Wicker said, "This is just wonderful. I like what I see and I'm trying as a federal legislator to get my arms around how we might be able to help at a federal level.
A huge way to help would be to prevent the U.S. Department of Energy from taking fresh water from the river.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Once it was common knowledge in Biloxi that high salinity ruins our oyster harvest, yet the Sun Herald has recently published two optimistic articles about oyster industry recovery which do not mention the government's plans for the Richton salt dome.
Low salinity protects oysters from the conch, a natural predator which can decimate commercial beds. A Nov. 10 article warned of a potential "catastrophic collapse of the oyster industry" that would "displace the entire economy of the Bay region," however that story referred to reductions in fresh water entering the Apalachicola Bay. The problem is the same - too much salt - but the issue there is the drought-induced water war of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
In Mississippi, our elected officials are planning a self-inflicted catastrophic collapse by allowing the oil interests a cheap place to spit the salt they suck from the Richton dome. They also will allow their buddies to flush away 50 million gallons of fresh water a day from a pristine river, when our neighbors face a water crisis. While we were on our hands and knees fighting our way up from Katrina's mud, these guys saw the opportunity to work us over.
This mal-conceived plan may be lucrative for a few, but it will be disastrous for those of us who love our coastal home. Our seafood, bird life, national park, and budding eco-tourism industry are all at risk. Why not strip-mine the Grand Canyon or clear-cut Yellowstone? There are better ways to stockpile oil.
For more info on how salinity affects the oyster industry, Google "Thais Haemastoma & salinity." Particularly pertinent are "Notes on the Louisiana Conch...
" by Martin D. Burkenroad, and "Effects of Salinity and Temperature...
" by David Garton and William B. Stickle.
Oysters were once the staple that kept our ancestors from starving during the years of the Mississippi Bubble. If we don't pay attention, that bountiful resource will be lost for the sake of another shell game.
BETTY JO MILLER Biloxi
Thursday, January 17, 2008
He also said he is encouraged by the Navy's tentative look at the Coast Guard's National Security cutter as a possible base design for the littoral combat ship program. He said the Navy and Northrop Grumman have talked about alterations to the Coast Guard cutter that would allow it to fill the role of the littoral combat ship.
Currently, the Navy is building two littoral combat ship designs. Lockheed Martin is building one design at the Marinette Marine Shipyards in Wisconsin. General Dynamics is building a less-traditional, trimaran design at the Austal USA Shipyard in Mobile.
Taylor said that both designs were significantly behind schedule and over budget.
"I am encouraged that the Navy is looking at the National Security cutter," he said, saying that one way the Coast Guard and Navy could cut costs is to share designs. "If Marinette and Austal do not perform, Northrop Grumman is in the running."
I hope Northrop Grumman gets the contract.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
In response to the Richton Salt Dome. Taylor assured us it was not funded. He also announced the DOE had agreed to a public hearing in March or April. He sent one letter in December which you can read here. Another letter was sent after Christmas which Senator Thad Cochran and others signed. He will not support taking water from the Pascagoula or Leaf Rivers as Jackson County already has fresh water problems and they have been working for 18 years on a way to get more fresh water to us via the rivers. He will support using salt water to hollow out the dome and diffusing it outside the barrier islands. Someone brought up the possibility of selling the salt, and Congressman Taylor assured the person that it would be looked into. He also mentioned the need for alternatives to fossil fuels and said switchgrass looks promising.
The House has approved the Multi Peril Insurance Bill and it is in the Senate now. Congressman Taylor asked us to contact our Senators and request that they support it.
It sounds as if we will be in Iraq for awhile. Iraq is a welfare state and we are now providing the sheiks money to pass out to their tribes, this will apparently hasten the peace process.
The next Town Hall Meeting will be in Wiggins on Feb. 11th, 2008.
Congressman Taylor also spoke of how the LCS Program is behind schedule and over budget.
In selecting dual hulls for LCS, the Navy’s intention had been to deliver ships quickly to the fleet through two shipyards, with the option to downselect to one design at a later point in time. But now it appears that companies that were edged out in the original competition might have another shot at LCS.
This is potentially good news for Northrop Grumman Pascagoula.
A soon to be 70 year old veteran with health issues related to his service brought up how he is being jerked around by the VA. Unfortunately I didn't get his name and I haven't seen anything in the news about it. I do hope this man is able to get the medical care he deserves after serving his country.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Haven't we been through enough since Katrina? It's bad enough that developers have bought up most of the Coast's prime real estate for condos. And casinos probably own what's left. Now, the government wants to ruin what can't be sold - our rivers and our Gulf - by using the water to flush the salt out of the Richton dome for oil storage.
If they had to dip into our reserves to help out after Katrina, why can't they just fill them back up? There's no need for a new storage facility, especially at the risk this one poses.
Seems like I remember years ago they wanted to dump nuclear waste in the salt domes and we said, "No!" It's time to say no again.
There's got to be a safer way to get that salt out of there than to deplete our rivers and over-salt our estuaries. If there isn't, then they'll have to look elsewhere. We should be able to vote on this issue since it's our state - our home - that's at stake. We need to write our representatives, who are our voices in Washington.
KEVIN CRUSE Biloxi
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The Choctaws were one of 11 tribes to receive letters from the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs last week rejecting their bids for off-reservation casinos because the sites are too far from the reservation
Our vote didn't count, but luckily this 'NO' actually means no casino.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Gov. Haley Barbour, who has final authority in this issue, stated it isn't fair and it isn't right. We should not expand casinos into counties where they do not already exist, he said. He has pledged not to approve the casino.
So, for the next four years, we can assume that there will be no Choctaw casino in Jackson County despite the fact the Choctaws have gone back on their word to honor the wishes of the citizens of Jackson County and are in continued pursuit of their plans for the casino. This also is going back to the promises made to their own people. In a resolution signed and passed by the Choctaw Tribal Council, the resolution clearly states that if a majority of the citizens of Jackson County do not want them to open a casino, they will not pursue the matter any further. In other words, the current leadership of the tribe has gone back on their word in every conceivable way.
Read the rest in The Mississippi Press