Air quality near Port of Gulfport will be tested

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There's been an ongoing battle surrounding expansion plans at the Port of Gulfport.  Residents who will be directly affected by the increased traffic resulting from that expansion worry about how their lives will be impacted.

In a four to three vote Tuesday, the Gulfport City Council voted in favor of a request for an air quality study near the port be done.

"I feel really happy that the mayor and the will of the council was in support of this resolution. I think the council recognized that the port just has not looked into the affects of this project," Howard Page of the STEPS Coalition said.

Groups like the STEPS Coalition, the North Gulfport Civic Club and the NAACP have been fighting for a concise study for sometime now. They say the thought of potential air emissions projected from the increased traffic is worth looking into.

"Because of the high incidents of asthma in children in that area, I know that there is a need for assessment in that area. Not just a county wide assessment or a citywide assessment, but an area assessment," Ruth Story, Gulfport NAACP Chapter President, said.

The resolution will ask the Mississippi State Port Authority to pay for an extensive study explaining how the port connector road will affect air quality for residents in the area.

"I was a little surprised by that because I was thinking that we should be interested in the health of all the citizens of Gulfport. Not just the areas in which we live. but I'm just happy that it passed. It was a 4-3 passing and that's great," Story said.

"We're really happy that finally we have the mayor and the council's will being shown here. Hopefully the port will take this request seriously and realize that they have not done their due diligence," Page said.

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