Gulf Restoration Network was an exhibitor at the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church of Mississippi. We were the only environmental NGO at their meeting at the Jackson Convention Center. The Conference is where clergy and non-clergy delegates meet and shape the work of the church for the year.
One of the Conference themes this year was justice. The Church's justice work covers a variety of ways to help people and communities in need. In many settings, clean water and healthy wetlands are environmental and social issues. GRN's Mississippi water policy work is never far from justice issues.
Better management of treated runoff downstream of the Kemper County Lignite mine where people fish in Okatibbee Lake, the deteriorated condition of coastal fisheries in the Gulf since the BP disaster, the threat of dredging in a state park for a flood control/land development project on the Pearl River in Jackson, and the confusing and oppressive Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit process are all issues that deplete public resources and have disparate adverse impacts on people and communties.
Our reception from the Mississippi UMC conference participants was good and our issues resonated well with them.
Andrew Whitehurst is GRN's Water Policy Director and covers Mississippi issues.