Thursday, April 2, 2015

Republicans Kill Tidelands Funding for Bay St. Louis

For the first time since coastal municipalities began receiving Tidelands funding, the city of Bay St. Louis will not receive a single dime when this year's funds are disbursed.

Senator Philip Moran (R-Kiln)
The Hancock County Republican delegation, led by state Sen. Philip Moran, killed $300,000 in Tidelands funds for the city of Bay St. Louis. Hancock County usually gets about 25-30 percent of the annual Tidelands money but only received around seven percent this year when Moran was in charge of the Hancock County portion. Of the allocation for Hancock County, nearly $500,000 went to Moran's hometown of Diamondhead.

In 2011, Philip Moran was challenged in the Republican Primary by Mickey Lagasse for the state senate. This year, Mickey Lagasse is running for House District 122 against state Rep. David Baria.

Mickey Lagasse
In an interview with Cottonmouth, Mississippi Democratic Trust Executive Director Brandon Jones
said, "One of the primary purposes of Tidelands funding is to preserve Mississippi's Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These funds have been critical in rebuilding Bay St. Louis. As a tip of the hat to his former opponent, Senator Moran is cutting off vital funds from an important Gulf Coast community. This is a perfect example of the way Republicans have misused the legislature over the past four years. This November, the voters of Mississippi will have a chance to stop this type of help-your-buddy government."

According to the Secretary of State,
Public Trust Tidelands and submerged lands are lands lying under waters naturally subject to tidal influence. The inland boundary is the line of mean high tide and the seaward boundary is the State boundary, three miles south of the barrier islands. Public Trust Tidelands are owned by the State in trust for all the people of Mississippi. The Secretary of State is the trustee of this great public trust.
It is the policy of the State of Mississippi to favor the preservation of the natural state of the public trust tidelands and their ecosystems and to prevent the despoliation and destruction of them, except where a specific alteration would serve a higher public interest in compliance with the public purposes of the trust. Public Trust Tidelands are managed with a view towards preservation. Revenues from the Tidelands are deposited into the Tidelands Fund and disbursed to the Department of Marine Resources for programs and projects relating to conservation, reclamation, preservation, acquisition, education and enhancement of public access to the tidelands.

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