View of drilling rig and platforms, approximatelly 1.4 miles from Alabama’s Dauphin Island. Photo credit Harold Wright.On I joined a group of business owners and conservationists at the Yacht Harbor in Gulfport, Mississippi to speak out against a proposal to open up state waters to oil and gas drilling and production. Check out an article about the event in Mississippi’s Sun Herald.From the BP drilling disaster to the ongoing impacts of the oil and gas industry on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, it’s pretty clear that drilling and production can do some serious harm to the coastal environment. However, the centerpiece of this event was an economic report, Drilling by the Numbers, which factually challenges the lie being perpetuated by drilling proponents that this plan would be good for Mississippi’s coastal economy and communities.The report analyzes a number of different aspects of the issue, including how much oil and gas is likely to be found in state waters, what the economic cost and benefits of this proposal are likely to be, and the potential risks to the Mississippi Gulf coast. One of the most significant conclusions is that drilling in state waters will have an impact on the state’s massive tourism economy, and a drop in tourism of as little as 2 to 3% could swamp any gains from drilling and leave the state with a net loss of revenue.At the event in Gulfport, we certainly couldn’t come up with any good reasons for implementing this idea. This proposal doesn’t make sense for Mississippi’s communities, the health of the coast, or even the coastal economy. The only folks who would seem to benefit are the oil and gas companies that could swoop in and harvest the state’s mineral resources at bargain prices. Click here to tell political leaders that they should be looking out for the coast and their constituents, not oil and gas companies.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer.