Editorials

SUN HERALD | Editorial: Documents on two lakes project should be online

The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to neighboring Jackson County. Plans are underway to dam tributaries to the river to create twin lakes, primarily in George County.
The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to neighboring Jackson County. Plans are underway to dam tributaries to the river to create twin lakes, primarily in George County. SUN HERALD/2003

If the Corps of Engineers is going to allow the public to comment on a proposal to build two lakes in the Pascagoula River watershed, it and the state of Mississippi should give the public all the information the government has on the project.

As it is, that information is trickling in. There is no mention of it on the Pat Harrison Waterway District site. That's the agency that's proposing dams across the Big Cedar Creek and Little Cedar Creek in George and Jackson counties.

The Corps site has a public notice and a permit application but finding them takes some hunting. And there isn't any information about the project readily available on the Jackson County Board of Supervisors website.

George County, which seems like the biggest beneficiary of the project, has some information, including the argument that the lakes will improve the flow of the Pascagoula River during droughts.

That's an argument critics of the lakes aren't buying.

"In times of severe water shortage, those lakes will be drying up just like the Pascagoula River, so there is no benefit at all," Susan Jordan, told the Jackson County Board, and she asked it to withdraw its support.

Monday we learned there has been an environmental assessment of the project, one that perhaps could answer some of the peoples' questions.

But people wanting to see it must file a Freedom of Information request with the Corps of Engineers, which would then have 20 business days to respond. The public comment period is scheduled to end Nov. 4, leaving people worried about the project little time to examine the "115-page Environmental Assessment which included an additional 11 appendixes of technical reports, and agency correspondence" that George County says the Corps has.

The Corps site says it must post documents there if it receives more than three FOIA requests for them.

The Corps should post all the documents and publicize their whereabouts.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.

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