Sierra Club maintains majority of citizens oppose oil and gas drilling

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It would appear a lot of people want don't want oil and gas drilling rigs in state waters.

This week, the Mississippi Development Authority released the results of several public meetings held on the proposal. An estimated 85 percent of those comments are in opposition.

The MDA released the results after receiving a public records request from the 12 Miles South Coalition.

"If you put this to a popular vote out there, it would go down in flames," Robert Wiygul said.

Wiygul, an Ocean Springs attorney, represents the local Sierra Club. Wiygul maintains the MDA is rushing through this process.

To prove his point, Wygal points out that the MDA denied repeated requests for an extension on the public comment period.

"There have been requests from citizens, requests from the National Park Service, requests from the Attorney General's office to extend the comment period," Wiygul said.

Wygal also said MDA did not even notify the National Park Service of the public comment period. Instead, MDA mistakenly told the Fish and Wildlife Service about the meetings.

Wygal contends what MDA is doing here is terribly wrong.

"The simplest explanation is that somebody wants to get out there and start working."

But when pressed as to who that 'somebody' might be, Wiygul said that at this point, he really has no idea.

He also pointed to the Deepwater Horizon accident, as proof of what can happen when the proper safeguards are not in place.

He also said there is a possibility that the Sierra Club could take some type of legal action against the MDA.

Our attempts to reach MDA for any comment on this story, were not successful.

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