Whether to allow oil and gas drilling within a mile of our barrier islands has South Mississippi divided.
Environmentalists oppose any drilling, saying the potential damage to the environment far out ways any benefits of royalty payments to the state. Tourism leaders worry offshore rigs will chase away visitors.
Drilling supporters say if America is going to become energy independent, all avenues need to be open. They argue without new energy sources, five dollar or higher a gallon of gasoline is a real possibility.
The Mississippi Development Authority is currently working on guidelines on how to handle drilling leases.
Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves summed it up well when he said, "I would rather do it right than do it quick."
There needs to be more opportunity for the people of South Mississippi to speak on this issue.
While legislation has already passed that allows the offshore drilling, people who live here want to make sure regulations are in place that will protect the environment.
We call on MDA to allow more time for public comment so every voice is heard.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager
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