Regional battle over BP money could be ameliorated

elatively sludge and tar-ball free, its leaders have already said they want up to $400 million to fix leaky sewerage and such. They figure this would help the Coast based on a Pearl River trickle-down theory. This prompted my counterpart Paul Hampton at the Sun Herald to opine, “They must be smoking something strong up on High Street.”

Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis, is already drafting a bill he wants to pre-file before next year’s session to require at least 80 percent of the BP settlement money over which the Legislature will have dominion be spent in the three Coast counties.

Many Coastians (they never call themselves that) are still upset over the Starkville parking garage funded by Katrina recovery money. Many inland leaders still don’t trust their Coast counterparts not to take money from the state and put it all on red at a roulette table.

If I were an inland lawmaker, I might be a little afraid I’d end up in Biloxi Sen. Tommy Gollott’s crab traps in the Back Bay if I pushed to spend oil settlement money away from the Coast.

Clarion Ledger
7/26/15