An energy industry group says Mississippi should be excited about federal plans to increase oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, environmental groups disagree.
The U.S. government is planning to conduct its largest sale of offshore oil leases in U.S. History. In March, the government will open nearly 77 million acres of public water for oil and gas drilling. The Consumer Energy Alliance is an industry group that says the plan will increase jobs and grow the economy in Mississippi.
Brent Greenfield is with Consumer Energy Alliance.
"One study has found that expanding the access to the Gulf of Mexico could nearly double those benefits for Mississippi bringing in an additional nearly 12,000 jobs and almost $900 million in annual economic activity," said Greenfield.
Environmental advocates say the plan withdraws precautions and could cause another oil spill.
Louie Miller is with the Mississippi Sierra Club.
"What we're doing here is to ignore history, casting aside the safety measures, along with gutting the funding for cleaning up spills and this clearly a recipe for disaster in the future," said Miller.
Governor Phil Bryant supports the plan. He says in a statement it would not include drilling into the Mississippi Sound and would be limited in areas south of the Barrier Islands. Bryant says money from the leases could help fund education, healthcare, and infrastructure.