Public hearing held for proposed Moss Point industry

By Doug Walker – bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS  (WLOX) - They braved the weather to sign up their names, study the various materials laid out on tables, view the maps and charts, and ask questions.

The Department of Energy hosted Tuesday night's public scoping hearing in Moss Point. And the reason was very clear, according to Alistair Leslie with the DOE.

"The reason for the meeting is to receive comments from the public about issues they want to see addressed in the environmental impact statement that we are presently undertaking," Leslie said.

Federal approval will have to be given before construction can begin on the $2 billion gasification plant, which would be built on the old International Paper company site.

Moss Point business owner Beverly Tate was more concerned about job creation.

"I don't really know enough about that type of material or anything at this time to have any concerns," Tate said. "But the first thing we think about is to see a business come in so that the city could rebuild and have jobs."

People who showed up seemed curious about the company's plans, but not overly concerned about its impact.

The head of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, George Freeland, feels the plant and the city will make a perfect pair.

"We believe this is the right project at the right time for the former International Paper mill property in Moss Point for a number of different reasons," Freeland said. "It presents the highest and best economic impact."

If the plant becomes a reality, it would convert petroleum coke into synthetic natural gas, a fuel that could handle the country's energy needs to decades to come.

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