The Mississippi Sound and our barrier islands are amazing natural and economic resources for the state – attracting visitors from far and wide to enjoy our fishing, food, culture and wildlife. However, the growing tourism industry along the Coast is threatened by a Mississippi Development Authority proposal to open state waters to oil and gas drilling and other activities. Click here to say no to oil and gas activities within 12 miles south of our barrier islands.The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is currently reviewing rules for oil and gas activities in state waters to see if they are consistent with the Mississippi Coastal Program (MCP) and the other ways residents and businesses utilize the Coast. This process includes looking at impacts on wetlands, historical resources, and natural scenic qualities. Can you take a moment to tell DMR that oil and gas activities within 12 miles south of the barrier islands aren’t consistent with the MCP?http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50843/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12191DMR has the opportunity under the Mississippi Coastal Program to look at what drilling really means for coastal communities, the Mississippi Sound, and our barrier islands. It’s time they took a hard look at the impacts these types of activities could have on our environment, tourism and other industries. For example, if just 3% of coast tourists stopped visiting because of rigs on the horizon and pollution fears, than the state would actually lose money from opening its waters to oil and gas activities. Yet, up until now, state leaders have failed to ask these hard questions.Tell DMR to do the right thing, ask the hard questions, and stand up for our coast and communities.Andrew Whitehurst is GRN’s Water Program Director.