Gov. Barbour right to point out facts about offshore drilling

GOV. HALEY Barbour is right to point out that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference to the casual observer between drilling for natural gas a mile off Mississippi’s barrier islands (in state waters) and drilling 2 miles off the islands (in federal waters).

But under regulations proposed by the Mississippi Development Authority, the state could allow drilling a little closer in, which would mean a lot more revenue in the state’s coffers — 100 percent of the royalties, compared with 35 percent.

This doesn’t mean that the public should necessarily embrace opening a sliver of state waters to drilling. But they should at least understand the impact of the proposed regulations, which are open for public comment until Jan. 20. If the regulations are approved, a lease sale could occur next year.

Mississippi Press Ed Board
12/23/11