On September 9th, the Department of Energy announced the cancellation of the last ongoing environmental study for the Richton salt dome project, effectively halting any further progress on the project. This irresponsible oil storage scheme would have required the removal of 50 million gallons of water a day from the Pascagoula River for five to six years to dissolve underground salt deposits. The extremely salty, polluted byproduct from this process would have then been discharged south of Horn Island, potentially creating a large dead zone where little sea life could survive.GRN commends the Department of Energy on their decision. The people who live, work, and play in South Mississippi rely on a healthy Pascagoula River and Mississippi Sound and they shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice these amazing natural resources for a destructive and expensive boondoggle like the Richton salt dome project.Since the Richton project was first proposed, a large and diverse coalition of concerned citizens, and community and conservation groups have weighed in against this environmentally and economically damaging project. Hundreds of individuals attended hearings to call for a halt to the Richton salt dome project, and thousands of people signed petitions or wrote emails urging the Department of Energy to cancel it. Ultimately, this effort paid off.”Hearing that the project is officially dead for now is great news to the Gulf Conservation Coalition and virtually everyone in South Mississippi. The civics lesson that this event provides is that a single voice of reason may have difficulty being heard. Hundreds or thousands of like voices get heard, and can accomplish great things,” said Eric Richards, Spokesperson for the Gulf Conservation Coalition.To view the Department of Energy’s official release on the cancellation of the Richton salt dome project’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, visit this site: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-09/html/2011-23087.htmRaleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer.