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Gulf Coast Energy Summit Favors ‘All of the Above’ Strategy and Draws Protest

By Rhonda Miller | Published 12 Mar 2012 07:55pm | comments
The 12 Miles South Coalition demonstrates against drilling near Mississippi's barrier islands during the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi.

Energy is high on the national radar with rising gas prices and many leaders pushing to make America independent of foreign oil. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports an energy summit in Biloxi Monday brought together leaders from across the region.

When it comes to energy production, David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, says the organization takes an “all of the above” approach.

"We support offshore development, oil and natural gas. We support onshore evelopment, oil and natural gas, while we continue as a society to develop the infrastructure for wind and solar and hydo and biomass."

The alliance was the main sponsor of the conference. Holt is based in Houston and says the organization includes airlines, truckers, farmers, manufacturers and oil companies. Holt says the group supports energy development that’s environmentally responsible.

"Oil and natural gas will be the very dominant resource this country needs to run our economy for the next 50, 60, 70 years, while we the develop alternative energy."

Governor Phil Bryant said at the summit he envisions Mississippi a leader in energy development. He said he believes drilling off the Mississippi barrier islands can be done in a balanced way, despite concerns from environmental and tourism groups.

"We’re going to protect that Gulf because we love it. It’s in our veins. It’s in our souls. And the idea that somehow we would deliberately harm that Gulf, is out of touch with reality. That has never occurred and it will never occur. "

"I brought a copy of the rules and regs out for you, the guidelines for you to go by. All you’ve got to do is keep moving ..."

Outside the summit, Biloxi police asked 45 demonstrators from the 12 Miles South Coalition not to block the sidewalk. The group opposes drilling one mile south of Mississippi’s barrier islands.  Raleigh Hoke is part of the coalition.

"The 12 Miles South Coalition is not against going out there and getting the energy that we need. But we want to make sure we’re protecting our resources. And we don’t need to be drilling right around our barrier islands and right off the coast of Mississippi."

Two Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, attended the summit and said they favor energy independence for America.






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