Court reverses decision to allow offshore drilling

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Hinds County court has reversed a decision that could have allowed oil and natural gas drilling in Mississippi waters.

At issue is a 2011 study by the Mississippi Development Authority that was supposed to be an in-depth look at the Economic Impact of leasing the property for oil and gas exploration. But instead the court tells us the MDA issued a half-page document supporting the move, without listing any evidence as to why.

Thursday, the chancery court sent the leasing decision back to the MDA, which must now do a more extensive Economic Impact Study.

We caught up with Robert Wiygul, one of the attorneys who worked on the appeal, about what the decision means.

"This is for common sense. This is really just about saying look before you leap. If you want to commit public resources and commit the public to having oil and gas drilling out there around those barrier islands, let's find out what's going to happen to everybody," Wiygul said.

The new study by MDA must include evidence of the economic impact on the state, cities, and small businesses. And it must include possible alternative plans before leasing can be approved again.

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