Governor Barbour has called a special session of the legislature for this week. The main issue at stake is something that could help catapult some part of our state forward economically creating approximately 1-thousand jobs and a payroll of $85-million per year.
The technology is called biomass. It is about harvesting pine tress, even damaged ones, and using them to produce wood pellets to turn into a fuel source. The governor wants the Legislature to approve $45-million in bonds to finance this venture. That also includes money to colleges and universities for work force training.
While Barbour hasn't revealed who the company is or the sites under consideration, Seven on Your Side has learned that sites are being looked at in North Mississippi as well as South Mississippi. We don't understand that. South Mississippi is known as the Pine Belt…the Piney Woods section of Mississippi. It was the Pine tree that lifted this part of the state to prominence over the cotton fields of the Delta.
We hear from reliable sources that the 2 of the largest tracts of ready-to-harvest Pine is in Wayne County in Southeast Mississippi and Franklin County in Southwest Mississippi. It makes no sense to locate anything to do with the timber industry north of Jackson. If this industry goes north of I-20 it will be for one reason alone—politics. With South Mississippi getting the short end of the stick once again. We urge the lawmakers from South Mississippi not to let that happen. This industry belongs in South Mississippi and we are counting on you to bring it to its rightful home among your constituents.
I'm Jim Cameron with today's Viewpoint. Let us know what you think.