Sierra Club Will Fight Proposed Gulfport Development - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/31/03

Sierra Club Will Fight Proposed Gulfport Development

Kim Marsh is part of the Gulfport Concerned Citizens group. As he walked toward Turkey Creek, he asked his guest, "Did you see that ditch back there we passed by?".

The ditch is next to the creek. The north Gulfport creek is where water often spills out of its banks, into nearby homes and churches.

"We do know that during a hard rain, just a hard rain, water is clearly up to here," Marsh said, pointing to his knees. "It covers these people's yards here."

The group Gulfport Concerned Citizens is tired of what it calls neglect. So it teamed up with the Mississippi chapter of the Sierra Club and invited Robin Mann to Gulfport. Mann is Sierra Club's national wetlands chair. She came to listen to neighbors and help them fight a shopping center proposal that many politicians support, but the local Sierra Club opposes.

Rose Johnson is the head of the local Sierra Club.

"They aren't listening to us," she told Mann, referring to local elected leaders. "And they're not taking us seriously."

The Sierra Club's fear is that if a Louisiana developer gets to fill in wetlands and build a commercial project near Creosote Road and I-10, the neighborhoods south of here will be under more water than they are now.

"If there is increased development by this developer," said Johnson, "it's only going to make the problem worse."

The Sierra Club's national office will do whatever it can to help the Gulfport chapter protect Turkey Creek and its neighbors.

According to Mann, "We see this as an important case of really forcing some environmental justice."

by Brad Kessie

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