BILOXI -- The Commission on Marine Resources on Tuesday will get an update on a plan to explore for oil and gas and then drill if any is found in parts of the Mississippi Sound and the waters at least 1 mile south of the barrier islands.
But that meeting won't be at the Bolton Building in Biloxi. In August, the commission voted to move the October meeting about 35 miles away to the National Estuarine Research Reserve east of Moss Point near the Alabama state line.
"I think it's a good opportunity to move the commission meeting to another county to reach out to other parts of the Coast and also see a fantastic facility that we have,
and invite the public and others to be there in October," Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Jamie Miller told the commission before it voted to move the meeting.
Willa Brantley, the DMR's wetlands permitting coordinator, will give the presentation.
The latest push for drilling off Mississippi started in August when the Mississippi Development Authority sent the DMR a letter asking the agency to determine whether the MDA rules for seismic exploration and offshore leasing permits are compatible with the DMR's Mississippi Coast Program,
Drilling faces a sizeable headwind. Most Coast governments are on the record in opposition. The Gulf Restoration Network, which describes itself as "a network of environmental, social justice and citizens groups and individuals" and the Sierra Club have waged a legal battle against the rules in question.
DMR's public comment period on the proposal ended Sept. 30 but spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said there won't be a vote on the proposal Tuesday.
Steve Shepard, chairman of the Gulf Coast Group of the Sierra Club, expects members of the Restoration Network to attend the meeting.
Shepard said opponents thought they had drilling stopped, then Katrina hit.
"We had everybody organized and unified, ready to stop this crazy economic killer," he said. "But again, it's come back up."
MDA spokesman Jeff Rent said no one has applied for a permit to explore for gas or oil in state waters.