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MDEQ seeking public comment on post-oil spill restoration

LONG BEACH — On July 16 in Long Beach, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will seek public input on the types of early restoration they would like to see implemented as part of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

“Making the Gulf whole following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and providing citizens the opportunity to participate in restoration are our primary objectives,” said MDEQ executive director Trudy D. Fisher. “I encourage the public to attend this meeting and provide any information they think the trustees should consider as the scoping process for early restoration begins.”

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the University of Southern Mississippi FEC Auditorium located at 730 East Beach Boulevard in Long Beach.

According to MDEQ, all public comments will be taken into consideration as the Deepwater Horizon NRDA trustees begin preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for early restoration. The PEIS will include an evaluation of the potential effects of early restoration types — and specific projects — proposed as part of future early restoration phases. Cumulative impacts of early restoration will also be considered.

Development of the early restoration PEIS began with a public scoping period, which runs from June 4-Aug. 2.

Meetings, identical to the one in Mississippi, are being held across the Gulf Coast states and in Washington, D.C., to gather input on the scope, content and any significant issues that should be considered.

The public is invited to make comments in writing or verbally during the meeting. Comments may also be mailed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 2099, Fairhope, AL, 36533, emailed to earlyrestorationcomments@fws.gov or electronically filed by visiting www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

The deadline for all comments is Aug. 2.

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