All sides agree public meetings needed on Lake George project

All sides agree public meetings needed on Lake George project

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County Supervisors got answers to some of their questions on Monday about an $80 million plan to dam spillways on two tributaries to the Pascagoula River. Both supporters and opponents of the Lake George project agree more public hearings are needed to help people understand the plans.

By building dam spillways on the Big Cedar and Little Cedar creeks, Pat Harrison Waterway District officials hope to avoid the severe drought problems that they say scientists are predicting over the next 50 years.

"George County is thinking ahead," said Director Hiram Boone. "We need a lake. We need it for water. A water supply lake, for drinking water, for industry, and it could help attract industry to George County, as well as more industry to Jackson County."

Boone told Jackson County Supervisors that researchers don't believe creating lakes would change the flow of the Pascagoula River, nor would it have any negative impact on wildlife. However, some Jackson County residents who spoke during the citizens comments said they worry about unforeseen consequences. Supervisors said they won't make up their minds at least until after public hearings with experts present.

"The thing we've got to make sure of is we don't jump off to one side or the other and commit to build this thing 100 percent or commit to not build this thing 100 percent until we know all of the information," said Supervisor Troy Ross. "This is a long process. There will be lots of opportunities to kill this project if it becomes something we think is going to be detrimental to Jackson County."

"We don't want anyone that's a citizen or a taxpayer to think that we're trying to pull something on them," said Boone. "This way you've got a public hearing and you can answer any and all questions for it."

Officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has committed to at least one public meeting after the citizens comments period ends next month.

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