The Clarion-Ledger invited Andrew Whitehurst, water program director for the Gulf Restoration Network, and House Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, to provide their thoughts on this week’s Point/Counterpoint question: How should the Legislature spend the first $150 million of BP settlement funds?
The BP settlement money should go for needs on the coast where the vast majority of damage happened: where the hotels were empty, where a full commercial fishing season was cancelled and where the shrimp and oyster harvests are still reduced. The Legislature will, no doubt, offer many competing ideas for spending the first installment of the 17-year payout of a $750 million BP settlement for economic damage. Senator Wiggins from Jackson County, in a recent newspaper article, predicted a combative 2016 Legislative session over ideas for spending the first $150 million from BP.
Along the Mississippi Gulf of Mexico there are four public ports that are vital to the economic health of the State of Mississippi and Mississippi’s participation in the global economic environment. However the Mississippi Gulf Coast doesn’t exist on an island. It is part of the overall economic and infrastructure system for the State of Mississippi and as a result it also shares all of its problems.