Pearlington residents question flood buy-out program

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Dallas Trammell is one of many Pearlington residents who believe the buy-out program underway in the community won't solve the bigger problem.

"This little town has been here for a while when it was Logtown and it's got a good history behind it. And it's a shame to watch it just disappear because the government don't want to help secure it," Trammell said.

She says Mississippi should take its cue from Louisiana and build levees.

"They have $10 million for buy-outs. Instead of buying everybody out, why not just take that money and make it safer here. If New Orleans can do it and their government can do it, why can't our government do it here?"

Lisa Cowand is President of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. She believes Mississippians will one day see levee protection. In fact, she says a study is underway to determine what it would take to build a ring levee around the Port Bienville Industrial Park.

"Our existing economic developments that have created jobs in this county need to be protected. We can not lose that," said Cowand. "And with that protection, other industries will look at us over Texas perhaps."

Cowand said a levee around Port Bienville would be a start, and it could branch out to other areas.

"Even if it's done piecemeal, little by little just like Louisiana has done all these little pieces now encompasses this great big protection system. Should we have started ten, 15 years ago? Maybe. But we can't look back. We've got to look forward to see what we can do to minimize the degradation to our coastline to protect our citizens and their investments," explained Cowand.

Preliminary results from the feasibility study said it would cost about $40 million to place a ring levee around the 1,200 acres at Port Bienville. Cowand said she hopes BP RESTORE Act funds can be used to get the ball rolling.

Louisiana has spent $16 billion building levees and installing other flood control measures since Hurricane Katrina.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.