Dept. of Energy to issue new environmental impact study on salt dome oil reserve

South Mississippians will get at least one more chance to voice their concerns about the impact of a $3 billion strategic oil reserve on the local environment.  4th District Representative Gene Taylor announced today that the Department of Energy has agreed to hold another public hearing on the plan, which would use the Richton Salt Dome to store 160 million barrels of crude oil.  Water from local rivers would be used to remove the salt.

Taylor says the D.O.E. will also prepare a new environmental impact statement on the project.

"We're going to have another public hearing, I want people to know that," said Taylor, who spoke to us during a town hall meeting at the Laurel Train Depot tonight.

"The last one was held shortly after Katrina, and quite frankly, most South Mississippians were so busy getting their lives back together after Katrina that they didn't have time to attend and this one will be held on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, either in the month of March or April."

Taylor says he will only support the plan if the D.O.E. uses water from the Gulf of Mexico to remove the salt.