Mississippi's attorney general says he's suing the federal government over damages caused to the Gulf Coast by reopening a controversial spillway. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway for a record 123 days this summer to prevent flooding in New Orleans. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says the result was almost 10 trillion gallons of fresh water from the Mississippi River with pollutants from 31 states filling the Mississippi Sound. Hood says it killed oyster reefs, decimated the crab and shrimp catch and killed more dolphins than the 2010 BP Oil Spill.
"It's just about put our seafood industry out of business. There's a couple of oyster houses still here. Of course all those people, I know one of my friends has got reefs over there. He's 60 people laid off with nothing to do. It's going to be a year, a year and a half before they recover," said Hood.
Thursday Hood announced he's suing the U.S. Corps of Engineers for environmental and economic damages. According to the Coastal Mississippi Tourism Agency, revenues lost in June and July alone were close to $4.1 million, due to lower hotel occupancy rates. The agency says beach front vendors and fishing charters saw a loss of up to 70 percent. Susan Perkins is with the Mississippi Coast Restaurant and Beverage Association.
"It effected a lot of the businesses, not just the restaurants, but businesses that rely on the water. The vendors that rent the jet skis on the beaches and umbrella rentals, hotels. It effected anybody here on the coast that has a business that relies not just on the local people but people coming here to visit," said Perkins.
Hood the Democratic candidate for governor says he wants to recover funds to compensate for the harm the Gulf Coast has suffered. He also wants the corps to find other ways to prevent flooding. A spokesperson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they do not comment on active litigation.