On Thursday, October 31st, Hinds County Chancery Court denied the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) motion to dismiss the Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network’s appeal of proposed rules for offshore oil and gas exploration, leasing, drilling and production in Mississippi waters; brought by the Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) on behalf of the 12 Miles South Coalition.
“This is welcome news and a huge first step in clearing the way for us to finally be able to argue the merits of our appeal. MDA made up their minds about opening up drilling in the Sound and around the barrier islands way before presenting these rules to the public” said Helen Rose Patterson, Mississippi Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, “Bottom line is MDA has completely ignored the negative impacts that drilling and production could have on coastal tourism and other industries.”
GRN and Sierra Club’s lawsuit brings forth several issues, including MDA’s failure to prepare a valid Economic Impact Statement, failure to analyze and respond to public comments, and violations of Mississippi’s Public Trust Doctrine.
“The MDA argues that oil and gas leasing does not lead to the logical next step of drilling and that leases do not transfer rights to the oil companies, this is utter and complete nonsense; stated Louie Miller, State Director of the Sierra Club. “We are now looking forward to having the opportunity to argue MDA’s ridiculous assertion in a court of law”.
To read the Court’s full decision, click here.
Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself.
The Gulf Restoration Network is a diverse network of local, regional, and national groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and restoring the valuable resources of the Gulf of Mexico.