CMR chairman takes issue with state senator's facts and concerns

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The chairman of the Commission on Marine Resources takes issue with concerns raised by a state senator regarding the expansion of a fishing reef with salvaged concrete.

Sen. Brice Wiggins recently sent a letter to CMR chairman, Jimmy Taylor, questioning the DMR's plans to spend money deploying concrete from a demolition site to Katrina key. Chairman Taylor responded with his own letter.

You'll recall that Sen. Wiggins sent his letter to CMR chairman, Jimmy Taylor, with a copy also going to DMR executive director, Jamie Miller. In that letter, the senator questioned the priority of spending money to deploy concrete from the demolition site of the old Margaritaville, to nearby Katrina reef, south of Deer Island.

Senator Wiggins told WLOX News he questioned the priority of such spending at a time when the DMR is facing a "financial crisis".

DMR director Jamie Miller said the concrete was being donated by Grand Casino, but admitted it would cost between $150,000 and $200,000 to deploy the concrete.

CMR Chairman, Jimmy Taylor, takes issue with the senator's letter, saying it contained "considerable incorrect information". Taylor defends the use of the "donated" concrete to expand Katrina reef and said the senator was also incorrect in stating the DMR has enough similar material stockpiled to last another four years.

Finally, Chairman Taylor also questions the senator's move to change the way that artificial reefs are funded.

"I am distressed that you would attempt to hijack the "Rigs to Reef Funds" program for the MDMR's "Seafood Fund" in your bill without any discussion with the Commissioners, he writes.

"I have personally received over 50 calls or emails from concerned citizens who are angry with your position and actions in these matters," the letter concludes.

Read Chairman Taylor's full letter here:

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