We got exciting news on Friday that our lawsuit against the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) regarding their rules for seismic testing and leasing will be moving forward. The MDA’s proposed rules were issued in December of 2011 and are a major threat to quality of life and the tourism economy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gas rigs on the horizon will damage the coast’s growing tourism industry, destroy the pristine beauty of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and ruin the quality of life that draws people to live along the coast.Gulf Restoration Network, in partnership with the 12 Miles South Coalition is fighting to keep drilling 12 nautical miles south of the barrier islands to and to this end GRN and the Sierra Club filed suit against MDA in March 2012 to appeal the rules. A Hinds County Chancery Court refused MDA’s appeal to dismiss the case and we are awaiting a date for the trial to begin. This is an important step forward in ensuring that MDA considers the impact that drilling would have on the quality of life and tourism based economy of the Gulf Coast. The available natural gas in state waters is less than two weeks of energy supply for the country and with the U.S. currently exporting natural gas, the MDA is asking too much of the Gulf Coast, with too little gain and too many risks. The continuation of our lawsuit is an opportunity to bring those concerns to the forefront of leaders’ minds.Helen Rose Patterson is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer.