PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Attorney General Jim Hood paid a visit to Crystal Seas Oysters in Pass Christian Tuesday, speaking with workers there about the ongoing struggles related to the freshwater intrusion plaguing the Mississippi Sound.
Crystal Seas Oysters controls private oyster beds, runs oyster boats, and operates buying docks along the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, supplying their processing facility with fresh gulf oysters.
The Jenkins family, who owns Crystal Seas and has been in the oyster business for several generations, said they are struggling to keep their employees on the payroll since the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway last spring.
Hood visited the facility, listening to the concerns of the employees and owners at Crystal Seas Oysters. Hood said while the devastation in the Mississippi Sound is comparable to the BP oil spill, the economic impact is proving to be much worse.
“This is much worse than BP because with BP we saw the oil and knew they had the money to put a fund together," said Hood. "There was a light at the end of the tunnel. But for folks here, there are two issues: Is someone going to pay for the damage that’s been caused, and if so, will they keep releasing it? Will it happen every year or will we just be out of business? That’s what people are facing here on the coast, and I think the federal government owes them some assurances.”
Hood says he has written letters to Congress hoping they will put together a fund to help those affected on the coast. He hasn’t seen any movement yet but says he’s waiting to take action to prevent litigation issues.