Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann speaks with MS Sound Coalition on Bonnet Carre Spillway
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mississippi Sound Coalition met Friday to create a taskforce to inform the National Marine Fisheries Service of the damage from the Bonne Carre Spillway openings in 2019.
This comes after a federal court ruled the Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in opening the spillway. Impacts included harming marine life in the Mississippi Sound, causing algae bloom, and hurting tourism on the Gulf Coast.
”We used to have the greatest oyster beds in the world. Now, we don’t have any. It’s a significant issue to us and this is the stopping point here,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said.
The Institute for Marine Mammals Studies shows the number of sea turtles and dolphin deaths since 2011 from a previous opening, reach over 200.
“The dolphins are our canaries in the coal mine. They’re suffering and they’re dying along with the oysters and the shrimp. It indicates what’s going to happens in terms of human health and human consequences,” said Gerald Blessey with the Mississippi Sound Coalition.
“We need to eliminate that toxic element coming from the water from the Mississippi River, to the Bonnet Carre, Lake Pontchartrain, and Mississippi Sound,” said Hosemann.
Members of the coalition board designed a plan to help the Corps when working on the spillway in the future.
“The corp has been ordered to look under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. They’re ordered to consult with the Department of Commerce. That’s what they’ll do next. That’s just a temporary thing. So if their consults decide they can open it the same way they’ve always opened it, we haven’t won anything. It gives us the opportunity to stop them at the Department of Commerce before you get into further litigation. I’m real hopeful about where we are,” said Hosemann.
The lieutenant governor said the Mississippi Coalition will hold more meetings across the coast before meeting with National Marine Fisheries Service.
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