Jackson County

Neighbors to industry, 'This problem has not been solved.'

Get a balloon’s-eye view of Bayou Casotte in Pascagoula

Gulf Restoration Network provides "low-cost" aerial photographs of Bayou Casotte in Pascagoula and the industries along it for a neighborhood who has been fishing industrial pollution coming into their neighborhood. Cherokee Concerned Citizens has
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Gulf Restoration Network provides "low-cost" aerial photographs of Bayou Casotte in Pascagoula and the industries along it for a neighborhood who has been fishing industrial pollution coming into their neighborhood. Cherokee Concerned Citizens has

The residents of Cherokee Forest have been working for years to reduce the air and water pollution coming into their neighborhood from their industrial neighbors.

They have filed a federal lawsuit against V.T. Halter Marine accusing them of violating the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

On Wednesday, they flew a balloon to bolster their case.

The balloon had a camera attached, one of the tools the Gulf Restoration Network uses to gather information about environmental issues.

Scott Eustis, coastal wetlands specialist for the GRN said he provides low-cost aerial monitoring of facilities to visualize some of the problems in the area.

“We want to visualize what Miss Barbara breathes,” he said. Barbara Weckesser has led the fight against the pollution, forming the Cherokee Concerned Citizens coalition, which filed the lawsuit.

Eustis flew a balloon with a camera tethered to it about 200 feet up to get a bird’s eye view of Bayou Casotte and V.T. Halter Marine in east Pascagoula near Industrial Road.

“I think a picture is worth more than a thousand words,” he said.

Howard Page of the Steps Coalition who was helping Eustis, said the project aims “to continue to prove to the local leaders and to the state regulators that this is a problem that has not been solved and needs to be addressed.”

MDEQ fined V.T. Halter Marine $17,500 in March 2016 for failing to protect the surrounding environment from paint overspray and sandblasting dust after the company failed to meet a 2015 deadline to build an indoor blast and spray facility.

That building is now under construction.

John Fitzhugh: 228-896-2193, @JFitzhughPhoto

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