Community groups in Gulfport, Mississippi have spoken out about what they see as the inadequacies of a study into the proposed expansion of the city’s port, according to the Associated Press.
Concerned parties addressed a hearing conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers into the likely environmental impact of the expansion. They expressed concern that the Corps was scheduled to end comments and issue a final report before a roadside study of traffic emissions was completed.
The port’s expansion plans involve filling 282 acres of water bottoms to expand the east and west piers and north harbour, plus dredging for a turning basin and adding a breakwater.
Residents and environmentalists fear that the resulting extra truck and rail traffic would create unacceptable levels of air pollution in minority neighbourhoods. They also feel that the employment benefits of expansion to the local community would be minimal.
The port is a container, bulk and break-bulk seaport under the aegis of the Mississippi State Port Authority and the expansion is part of ongoing restoration and improvement projects in the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
Gulfport is the second biggest city in Mississippi after the state capital Jackson.