« Video: Iowa Wind | Main | Guest Post from India: Government Repression Against Protests of New Nuclear Facility »

March 21, 2012

Gulf for Lease

Offshore drilling

It's typically considered bad form to kick an enemy when he's down. By that standard, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's last actions in office are nothing short of a disgrace. With days to go before his successor Phil Bryant was meant to take the oath of office, Barbour instructed the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to create a set of rules for leasing state waters in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil and gas industry. This was a smack in the face for those who have been working tirelessly for the passed two years to repair the damage in this region that was brought about by BP's Macondo Well.  Opening these waters for oil and gas exploration may be the harbinger to another major disaster and perhaps the doom of the Gulf Coast. 

The new leasing rules, which are set to take effect this month, have met opposition from the 12 Miles South Coalition, an organization comprised of political, environmental, business and community leaders. In attempt to stay potential catastrophe, the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network, both members of the coalition, filed a joint lawsuit against the MDA to appeal the implementation of the leasing rules. The suit contends that the MDA is moving too quickly to open Gulf waters, citing the lack of a detailed economic study and examination of public opinion. MDA's counter argument to the suit claims that there has already been sufficient delay for public opinion and that the processes will move forward in a safe and economic manner.

Governor Bryant has given his full support to the MDA and its rules set. In a speech related to the issue given earlier this month, he suggested that public interests in the region would be preserved as developers attempt to tap into the reserves that are estimated to hold about 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

"We can put it where it doesn't disrupt the view of tourists that have comes to that location," Bryant said during his speech. A bold statement, however one is left to wonder how the governor will hide numerous oil rigs as close as 3 miles from the Mississippi shoreline, or a gargantuan oil slick in the event of another BP-like catastrophe.

This dilemma represents yet another reason why the people of the Gulf of Mexico need to make their voices heard. Establishing a Region Citizen's Advisory Council (RCAC) for the Gulf of Mexico would help balance the power of the current administration, as well as the MDA. An RCAC comprised of stakeholders who live, work and play in the Gulf would have the ability to oversee all industrial activities and perhaps be the champion of a region struggling to revive. 

-- Max Gerson, Sierra Club Louisiana Intern


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Gulf for Lease:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Rss Feed

Sierra Club Main | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Website Help

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2013 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.