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Drilling Challenge Goes To Court On Jan. 6

By Evelina Burnett | Published 30 Dec 2013 06:00am | comments
A map of the leaseable areas in Mississippi waters. (Source:

Mississippi’s rules for oil and gas leases and seismic testing in state waters will be tested in court early next year.

Drilling in Mississippi waters moved forward one step this month when the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources announced it would sign off on the rules that the state Development Authority adopted for seismic testing and oil and gas leases.

DMR spokeswoman Melissa Scallan says the agency did not give blanket approval, however, and will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Helen Rose Patterson, with the Gulf Restoration Network, says she was disappointed that the department of marine resources didn’t take this chance to look at the consequences of drilling for the coast.

The Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club are heading to court on January 6 in part to try to force the state to answer that question.

Patterson says they want the state to do an economic impact study of what drill rigs within sight-line of the coast and barrier islands would mean for coastal tourism. 

A Development Authority spokesman declined to comment on the court case but said a lease sale is not currently scheduled.

The agency has said the energy sector is a big economic driver, creates well-paying jobs and helps reduce dependence on foreign energy.

It also says most lease blocks are at least one mile south of the barrier islands, so it believes production platforms would not be visible from most populated areas.


A map of the leaseable areas in Mississippi waters. (Source:



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