Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I encourage you to contact both Senator Cochran and President Obama and let them know how upset you are about the Richton Salt Dome Plan. President Obama must be informed about the potential harm it can do to our environment and the fact that the majority of Mississippi residents do not support it.
To contact President Obama
Call or write to the President:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please include your e-mail address
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
WHEN October 19, 2009 ‐ 3:30 pm‐7:00 pm
Our oceans and coasts are beautiful environments and economic engines that provide valuable jobs, food, recreation, and energy resources. Yet more than 140 different and often‐conflicting laws govern our oceans, and this allows poor management and environmental harm. To help overcome the challenges faced by our oceans and coasts – including pollution, habitat loss, overfishing and climate change – we need one unifying national policy.
On June 12th, the President created a 23‐member interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to develop a first‐ever national ocean policy. The Task Force is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes.
On October 19th, we need to come together to urge President Obama to issue an Executive Order that protects special ocean places and establishes national ocean policy that protects, maintains, and restores our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. This is the best opportunity to get what we need for a healthy Gulf. Be there!
We need a national policy that protects wild fish populations and restores wildlife populations, protects ocean wildlife habitats, cleans up our waterways and reduces the impacts of climate change. The Task Force has planned six listening sessions around the nation to gather public input and expert opinion, and October 19th is the only Gulf Region session.
Transportation to and from the event available!
Contact Raleigh Hoke by email or 504-525-1528, ext. 204 to join the effort to create a national ocean policy that truly protects our oceans, coasts and wildlife.
For information on the Interagency Ocean policy Task Force and its Interim Report go to: http://www.whitehouse.gove/administration/eop/ceq/intiatives/oceans/
For more background and information about the Coalition for Oceans and Greta Lakes check out: https://sites.google.com/site/healthyoceansandlakes/home
Friday, August 21, 2009
It seems that politicians in Perry County and Washington are hell-bent on destroying our Pascagoula River system. I can’t understand why the DOE wants to spend $2 billion to $4 billion to store 10 days worth of oil. What good will 10 days of oil do us in a world war? The refineries will not be operational to refine it into gas or diesel, so what’s the point? Besides, we’re broke!
If Richton wants this oil project, let them mine, then pile that salt in their city or county so it can destroy their property, not our river and gulf. I’ll bet they don’t want all that salt contaminating their farmland, just as we don’t want it contaminating our river and gulf.
Right now the Obama administration has stopped new drilling, and oil is being stockpiled by companies until they get the price back up. So why is the DOE going ahead with this? The answer is greed. A select few will get rich off this at the expense of the environment.
I’ve said it before, you can’t eat money and you can’t drink oil. We need the river’s fresh water and the food from the river and gulf more than we need 10 days worth of oil. This project is going to put all this in jeopardy. The depletion of fresh water — 50 million gallons a day — from the river will allow saltwater intrusion to destroy the marshes.
I hope there is enough protest from voters to get this stopped. Use the money for something we need.
In an e-mail, Rep. Gene Taylor says he supports the dome project but doesn’t support the way the water is to be taken from the river nor the dumping of the brine into the Gulf so near shore. He doesn’t address the spill factor that the DOE itself admits. We must band together and get this stopped, please write your representatives and voice your concerns.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One of those who would be impacted is Jackson County's District 4 Supervisor, Tommy Brodnax. A small piece of his property could be taken if Route C is chosen. Brodnax said he would prefer for Highway 15 to remain where it is today.
Read the rest at WLOX
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"Highway 15 is supposed to be a continuous route from the Gulf Coast all the way to Tennessee," Twedt said. "Right now, 15 starts at 1-10 and 1-110 and it goes up to Highway 26 and it stops."
Filling that gap left in the sixties, would mean creating a four lane highway that could take as long as ten years to construct. The toughest part is figuring out where to put it while also having the smallest impact on wetlands, forests and humans. That's why they are asking for input.
Option C goes through Jackson, George and Greene Counties into Perry. This one has a lot of homeowners in Latimer very upset, because a number of homes would have to go.
I went to the meeting last night and I discover that the land along OPTION B was purchased 25 years ago to widen Highway 15 at it's current location.
When they recently received Federal Funding to widen Highway 15 DeSoto National Forest and Camp Shelby demanded they do a new EIS (Environmental Study) because it had been more then 3 years and 25 years ago MDOT failed to get a RECORD OF DECISION. They will get a RECORD OF DECISION this time so whatever route they decide on the Highway will be built there even IF they run out of money and the Highway isn't widened for 10 or 30 years.
This is a FEDERALLY FUNDED PROJECT so I encourage everyone to attend the Town Hall Meeting held by Representative Gene Taylor and ask why our tax money is being wasted on a new EIS? why the original route where land has already been purchased isn't automatically being used? and what will happen to the land purchased 25 years ago and never used if another route is chosen?
Moss Point Town Hall Meeting
Monday, August 17, 2009
Pelican Landing Conference Center
6217 Highway 613
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Two supervisors Tuesday said the board acted quickly for fear that someone or a group might take action to save the tree that would halt the building project.
Read the rest in The Sun Herald.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Latimer has been particularly outspoken against one route that is proposed to go from Interstate 110, just north of I-10, through West Jackson County, to connect with Mississippi 57 just north of Vancleave, where the highways would run combined for 20 miles into Perry County.
Another alternative would be for Mississippi 15 to run north along its current route through a portion of the De Soto National Forest and Camp Shelby and into Perry County. A third route would avoid the complications of running through a military installation and the communities of West Jackson County and still link up with Mississippi 57 at some point.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Widening original route will save homes and expense
If MDOT will merely widen Mississippi 15 at its current location fewer people will lose their homes. There is a big difference between widening an existing highway and creating a completely new road. Please, people, look at the maps of alternate routes on MDOT’s Web site before making ignorant comments.
Currently most of Mississippi 15 goes through wildlife management areas, so few people will be affected by a widening at its current location. Most homeowners along Mississippi 15 live far enough from the road that they will not lose their homes if it is widened at its current location.
An ignorant post on the comment board saying that residents of Latimer “only like to put a mobile home on their property, and live partly on the government,” couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority of people who live in Latimer live in well-maintained brick houses on which they pay property taxes. Estimated median household income for residents of Latimer in 2007 was $46,951. The estimated median house value in Latimer in 2007 was $124,138.
Also, taking Mississippi 15 through Latimer and connecting it to Mississippi 57 does not give us another evacuation route north. It merely connects Mississippi 15 to an existing route that Coast residents can already use. We evacuated on Highway 57 for Katrina and there was very little traffic, which makes me wonder if all those people who complain about the congestion on U.S. 49 are even willing to use an alternate route. If we do need more routes going north, then widening Mississippi 15 at its current location is the most sensible thing to do.
Thankfully, according to Red Stringfellow with MDOT, the staff is working on another alternative — one that would extend the highway north from I-110, rather than taking it east through Latimer and Jackson County. I commend MDOT for listening to the residents and coming up with an alternative to destroying our homes.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
July 29 Letters to the Editor, The Sun Herald
Stop MDOT’s cut-through plan before it’s set in concrete
Tell me it ain’t so! Tell me Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown is not trying to pull a fast one over on the citizens of South Mississippi. Word is, he’s planning to move the route of Mississippi 15’s four-lane corridor from the existing route to a Jackson County cut-through (Route C).
And cut through it will. Does Brown think the beautiful streams, meadows and creeks of Latimer, Larue, Vestry and Vancleave can be improved with four lanes of bridges, concrete and asphalt? I especially like the part where Wayne and his brother own 1,000-plus acres of land near the proposed route.
There’s a reason for saying, “Take the high road.” The existing route was once a path traveled by native Indian tribes. Settlers made their way to the Coast along its natural ridge.
Along Route C, bogs and wet-lands are nature’s water filters. Rain seeps through and trickles down into our water table as clean water. Wetlands cannot be reproduced or manufactured.
Brown’s proposed Route C is a seriously flawed concept. It is an ecological nightmare, four miles longer, and will cost you, the taxpayers, millions of dollars more. These are taxes everyone in our country will pay. In these hard times, we do not need to add to the recession.
Please contact Commissioner Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call your supervisors, state representatives and congressmen. Let them know that you strongly disagree with Brown’s proposal. How can we sit idly by and let this happen to our children and their children? We deserve better.
Please attend the meeting hosted by MDOT and federal officials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the Latimer Community Center.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Kendall Cruthirds, whose family owns a grocery in the Latimer community, asked Brown about land Brown and his brother own.
Cruthirds and others expressed concerns about the route cutting into Latimer homesteads and acreage that have been in families for generations, the tons of fill dirt that would have to be brought in before the route gets to Old Biloxi Road and the fear that a four-lane highway would divide the community with few points of access for locals.
Read more in The Sun Herald
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This letter is in opposition to MDOT State Route 15/57 Alternate Plan through Latimer in Jackson County.
MDOT and Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown acted in a furtive manner on this important issue by holding a forum in Harrison County, leaving out Jackson County in their meetings and advertisements. An oversight? I don’t think so. In essence, Brown has publicly stated that the Latimer C corridor is MDOT’s choice.
Jackson County’s supervisors have been contacted but have not supported the citizens of Latimer in their plight. They have also been contacted by MDOT, yet they remain silent. Why?
How can MDOT rationalize a completely new route in these economic times? Instead of saving the taxpayers’ money by using existing roadbeds (either Miss. 15 or Miss. 57) they will be squandering away 10 times as much money by bulldozing wetlands and streams and adding four miles to the route.
I wonder if MDOT thinks EPA and the Fish & Wildlife Service rejoice in the selection of Latimer C, which will impact many threatened and endangered species and their habitats. At least two archeological sites will be destroyed. Why choose this route when there are more environmentally friendly routes to consider?
Longtime homeowners, other residents and those displaced by Hurricanes Camille and Katrina will be affected unnecessarily.
A look at the land rolls provides some very interesting names of landowners on the route and in the general area who could profit from future development if Latimer C comes to fruition.
Maps, petitions, MDOT comment cards, and other information are available at Cruthirds Country Corner Grocery and T&N Feed Store off Exit 50 in Latimer.
Instead of “Your Tax Dollars at Work,” this project’s sign should be “Your Tax Dollar at Waste.”
The new alternative would extend the highway north from I-110 (it's current location), rather than taking it east through Latimer and Jackson County. But this route would then skirt Camp Shelby on its way to Beaumont, where Mississippi 15 would reconnect with itself. Whether this alternative would hook up with Mississippi 57 has not been determined, Stringfellow said.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Alternate Route C runs through the tight-knit Latimer community and crosses several homes.
"I can't believe it," said 18 year-old Natalie Ramsay, whose family just moved into a new house in the proposed highway's path. "You would never think that that would happen to you or your family."
Ramsay is worried she's going to lose her new home if the highway runs through Latimer.
"My mom and dad have worked so hard for this, and it's being taken away," Ramsay said. "And it makes me think, Do these people actually care about what they're doing? Or do they just worry about making money or having a road put through?"
Brown said MDOT is considering drawing a third route that would run just north of Latimer to connect with Hwy 57. He said he expects the decision-making process to take up to a year.
This could potentially be horrible news for me depending on how far North of Latimer he is talking about. So for a whole year the residents of Latimer and the surrounding area are suppose to live in fear that their homes could be destroyed.
Alternate Route B touches on land owned by Camp Shelby and the Forestry Service. Southern District Highway Commissioner Wayne Brown said it would be very difficult to acquire the permits necessary to cross through that property.
It is unconscionable that it is harder to use land owned by the federal government then it is to seize private citizens homes
Monday, July 13, 2009
This was in The Sun Herald's July 13th, Letters to the Editor
Is no place safe from MDOT’s bulldozer?
I am writing this on behalf of my parents. They have lived in the Latimer Community their whole lives. As a young married couple they purchased land and built a house which they now own outright. Their home, like many others in the Latimer Community, survived Katrina with no damage. They should be able to enjoy their golden years in the home that holds so many warm memories for them. But MDOT is threatening to destroy their home with its relocation of Miss. 15, a relocation that is unnecessary and uncalled for.
Those on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who wish to evacuate using Miss. 57 can do so now by merely getting on the interstate or on U.S. 90 and getting off at Miss. 57 and heading north. There is no need to bulldoze people’s homes in order to tie Miss. 15 in to Miss. 57. This does not actually give us another evacuation route north. One has to wonder if the real drive to bulldoze people’s homes is in order to get visitors who travel to the Gulf Coast via Miss. 57 to the casinos faster.
It is also ironic that MDOT has to ask permission to use land already owned by the government but is free to take private citizens’ homes. And it is unconscionable that when there are so many homeless in Jackson County, MDOT wishes to create even more homeless citizens. My parents are retired and on a fixed income, there is no way they will be able to start over somewhere else on the pittance MDOT will give them for the land they will take if this highway relocation goes through. Let’s put a stop to MDOT’s continual land-grabbing.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
We survived Katrina. Will we survive MDOT?
A proposed alternate route to Miss. 15 now being considered by MDOT will plow through existing homes.
What is wrong with this picture? How can MDOT even consider destroying people’s homes? The devastation that this Coast suffered almost four years ago destroyed so many homes and businesses. If you are blessed to have a home left, why on earth would our own state want to destroy it? I cannot believe that this is even a consideration. How heartless.
There are other routes that this road could go. How much will financial and political clout factor into the final decision? Will MDOT even hear the voices of the hard-working people just trying to keep ahead?
We are not notified of the meetings; we have to learn after the fact.
Orange Grove community was annexed into the city of Gulfport by some judge in Jackson. The residents of this community had no say.
Now the state wants to destroy families and their homes. Some of these families built here because they lost everything to Katrina, now their own state wants to destroy them again.
Monday, July 06, 2009
The state has just begun studying the expense and the environmental impact of both routes and will take at least a year to make a decision, but the unveiling of the route across Jackson County has raised concerns in the Latimer community, which is north of Interstate 10 above Ocean Springs.
Residents there have said they’re concerned that the route would cross and damage more than three miles of sensitive wetlands and plow through residential communities of large-lot home sites.
“Now is the time to have your voice heard,” said Wayne Brown, Southern District highway commissioner. “In this case, write MDOT or contact your county through your supervisor.”
MDOT held meetings on the subject in Stone County, Perry County and D’Iberville in Harrison County last month. None were held in Jackson County, but Brown said that if there’s enough interest in Jackson County, he would come to the county and meet with a group to explain the two routes.
He said the meeting would allow residents to hear MDOT staff explain environmental impact, rights-of-way and how each route might be built.
Brown gave strong reasons why the alternative route through Jackson County looks good.
He said that to continue Mississippi 15 north from where it is now, would mean going through U.S. Forest Service land and Camp Shelby, which would require approval from both of those entities. He said that getting that approval could be difficult. He said the alternate route would benefit economic development in northwest Jackson County, which is growing.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Good news MDOT has agreed to hold a meeting in Latimer.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Good news MDOT has agreed to hold a meeting in Latimer.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Bill Walker, director of the DMR, has said in the past that his staff is not going to recommend approval of that aspect of the project. The state recommends using water pumped from the Gulf to Richton and discharged back into the Gulf.
But on Wednesday he confirmed just how crucial that objection is to the DOE’s current proposal.
Walker said that he, leaders with the state Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, have consistently made public statements that they do not want water for the project taken out of the Pascagoula River.
“I don’t know how much more clearly we can say that,” he said.
The Department of Energy doesn't seem to be listening though, so the Pascagoula River isn't safe yet.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
This threat (The Richton Salt Dome Project) landed the Pascagoula in the number nine spot in America’s Most Endangered Rivers: 2009 edition.
I was lucky enough to get to visit the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in September 2007 you can see some of the native plants and animals I saw here.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Richton report’s political ties negate its credibility
Following is the text of my letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the Richton Strategic Petroleum Reserve project report:
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Ramseur and Jeff Grimes, assistant director of the Gulf Restoration Network out of New Orleans, both said the Richton Report fails to address one of the major concerns of the project; pipeline breaks or leaks along the 80 miles — which the Energy Department itself predicts will happen — spilling brine onto sensitive river wetlands.
Grimes also was concerned the agency does not report the impact to sea life on the ocean floor, where there would be elevated salinity levels, or whether the “elevated salinity plume” might cause a dead zone.
Valid concerns, additional concerns include the loss of water from the Pascagoula River. Water Jackson County may need as our water table is rising.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Salt Dome project will be a disaster for the Mississippi Gulf Coast as it will threaten our freshwater supply, harm our fishing industry and do untold damage to the environment. You can read more post about the Salt Dome Project here.
I also question why we haven't heard more about the project until now. I am sure that many of us considered the project DEAD after the fierce opposition it meet on the coast.