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Environmentalists question MDA's numbers on offshore drilling

GULF OF MEXICO — The Sierra Club and other members of the 12 Miles South Coalition say Mississippi is rushing toward drilling in state waters without addressing concerns about tourism, the environment or economics.

The group tells The Sun Herald the Mississippi Development Authority appears to be using questionable numbers touting the economic benefits from offshore drilling for natural gas, the price and demand of which is at an historic low.

Earlier this month, the National Park Service said allowing drilling within one mile of Horn and Petit Bois islands would spoil the islands’ wilderness character.

Casino operators said while they’re not opposed to drilling, they don’t want to see tourist areas overrun by industrial equipment, boats and workers.

The drilling is mainly expected to produce natural gas.

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