Jackson County elected officials hold special meeting - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson County elected officials hold special meeting


By Jessica Bowman – email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - As MDEQ and BP representatives update Jackson County officials on the current oil crisis in the Gulf distraught faces appeared throughout the crowd.

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said, "They still can't even tell you how many barrels of oil is coming into the Gulf a day. I think the normal citizen is concerned about it. I think the elected officials are concerned about it. Like I said, each day it's inching closer and closer to us."

Fortenberry said sensitive areas beneath the water's surface are one of the main areas that need protection.

"This enemy is getting closer to us," Fortenberry said. "Now it's time to put up some lines of defense and as many lines of defense to protect our marshes and beaches."

Aside from booms, fencing has been put up in some locations in Jackson County waters, but local officials said more must be done.

Supervisor John McKay said, "I would like to recommend a third layer of defense, something similar to whatever that terra boom up there that we can put right up against the fencing."

Supervisor John McKay is talking about absorbent material that is made out of wood fibers.

McKay said, "Well, they make this in a much larger diameter, so it will absorb most of the oil when it comes forward. This is installed on posts that it can go up and down with the tide and you install it right along the shoreline where it won't hit the shoreline or the marshes."

MDEQ officials said ultimately, there will be many levels of defense, but an ocean boom that falls more than two feet into the water.

Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway said, "From all indications, booming doesn't work. It didn't work in Louisiana. It's not working here. If we can get the ocean boom, why not put it across Biloxi Ocean Springs Bridge, Pascagoula Bridge and tie it to the bridges so it will stop the water from coming into the bay, stop the water from coming into Fort Bayou, stop it from coming into Escatawpa and in Bay St. Louis the same thing. You got a perfect boundary."

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said, "If we get oil in our marshes and beaches, it's our fault."

No word of when this process will begin.

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