Premiere of New Documentary Shows Failures of $600 Million Katrina Recovery Project

MEDIA ADVISORY for October 23, 2013

Premiere of New Documentary Shows Failures of $600 Million
Katrina Recovery Project
With Job Creation Falling Short, Film Tracks Wayward Course of Controversial
Mississippi Port Restoration Project 

Premiere of Port of the Future: Aboveboard, a documentary presented by the Steps Coalition on community efforts to ensure that port restoration using disaster relief funds meets the jobs and environmental justice requirements imposed by law.

The Steps Coalition (www.stepscoalition.org)

 Thursday, October 24, 2013
Reception, 5:30pm
Screening, 6:30pm

Great Southern Club (top of Hancock Bank Building)
15th Floor, 2510 14th Street #1480, Gulfport

The Steps Coalition will premiere Port of the Future: Aboveboard, a documentary film produced by Elaine Stevens and filmed by Francisco Gonzales on the restoration of the State Port at Gulfport, a controversial and costly economic development project. Aboveboard traces the evolution of a grassroots-led advocacy campaign that, over time, has brought about important changes in jobs, environmental justice, and community engagement in the largest single public infrastructure investment in Mississippi history. Through interviews with a wide range of voices from Governor Phil Bryant to local community activists, Aboveboard details the ways in which local voices are lifted up to ensure that the State met its promises to the Gulf Coast.

The Steps Coalition is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization that brings together local allies working for a healthy, just, and equitable Mississippi Gulf Coast. The coalition aims to bolster a democratic movement by developing local leadership and supporting communities to advocate for their needs and by facilitating communication, coordination, and collaboration among its membership.

Roberta Avila, Steps Coalition, 228-229-8552
Howard Page, Steps Coalition, 228- 233-4734
Reilly Morse, Mississippi Center for Justice, 228-383-3348


Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepscoalition.org/?p=1816


TOSHJA BROWN: Pipeline May Place Communities at Risk

Published: July 13, 2013

I want to thank Karen Nelson and Michael Newsom for their recent articles in the Sun Herald on the crude oil pipeline.

At the June 27 meeting of the Steps Coalition, I alerted our membership about this development and there was great concern that no notice was given to the public about the pipeline.

In your Wednesday editorial you ask how a pipeline of more than 40 miles of 24-inch pipe can be built with so little public notice. Unfortunately the answer is by design due to a (gaping) loophole in the Army Corps of Engineer’s nationwide permitting process. The issuance of a NWP-12allows projects to piecemeal interstate pipelines so as to avoid the individual permit and environmental-assessment process under the Clean Water Act, even as this pipeline project consists of 128 wetland crossings and 11 stream crossings.

Thus far the conversation has focused solely on crude oil. However, there is reason to believe tar sands oil brought from Canada to the Ten Mile Terminal in Mobile by railway tanker cars would eventually be routed via the pipeline to the Chevron refinery in Pascagoula. Unlike crude oil, tar sand is a solid/semi-solid that must be diluted and heated to make it into liquid form so as to flow through pipelines. This is the substance, whether in its solid and diluted form, that has made headlines with the recent rail-car explosion in Quebec, the spill in Mayflower, Ark., in March, and the spill in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2010. These disasters highlight the deadly and toxic realities of its transport and the heavy burden placed on the communities who bear these risks without any notice or say. Unfortunately, now we live in one of these communities too.

Please continue a series of reports on the pipeline.



Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepscoalition.org/?p=1806


ROBERTA AVILA: Where’s analysis of Biloxi ball park?

Published: June 27, 2013

At the June 18 Biloxi City Council meeting, Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council, stated that an “in-depth economic analysis” of the ball park project had been obtained by the Gulf Coast Business Council.

I asked Mr. Norris in person and via email to send me a copy of this economic analysis to no avail. On the Gulf Coast Business Council website I found a one-page economic snapshot of the proposed minor league baseball team but not the in-depth economic analysis.

At the June 25 Biloxi City Council meeting, I asked Mayor Holloway if he had seen the “in-depth economic analysis” referenced by Mr. Norris and the mayor replied that he had not, but that he would request a copy.

I was stunned to learn that his office had not seen this analysis and my guess is neither had the City Council. Yet five members of the City Council voted “yes” on looking into a $21 million bond issue. We have requested that the mayor put this analysis, when obtained, on the city’s website for citizens to review.

There are optimistic projections of how ticket sales will cover the cost of the bond. If this is true, then a revenue bond should pay for this proposed ball park and not a general obligation bond. Citizens of Biloxi should not be left “holding the bag” if those optimistic projections don’t pan out.

Concerned Citizens/Taxpayers’ Coalition

Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepscoalition.org/?p=1781


Mobile to Pascagoula Pipeline Presents a Concern

Published in sunherald.com on June 24, 2013

MOBILE — The Mobile County Commission is hoping to meet with officials from a company planning to build a crude-oil pipeline to address concerns over its proposed proximity to Big Creek Lake. AL.com reports Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Director Charles Hyland told commissioners during a meeting Monday the proposed Plains Southcorp pipeline is expected to come within 3,000 feet of the lake — which provides drinking water for the Mobile area.

Officials say the proposed pipeline could carry up to 150,000 barrels of oil per day. The pipeline is expected to stretch from Mobile to a refinery in Pascagoula. County officials say they’re not opposed to building the pipeline, but would like to consider moving it farther from the watershed if it presents any potential risks.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepscoalition.org/?p=1777



Gov. Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant

We need to CALL your state senators and representatives on the Medicaid Expansion.
Governor Bryant is calling a special session on June 27th AT 10 a.m.

“Medicaid is a federal-state health insurance program for the needy, aged, blind or disabled and for low-income families with children. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the nation, and its population is just short of 3 million. More than 644,000 Mississippians are already enrolled in Medicaid, and expansion could add an estimated 300,000.”

To read the entire Sun Herald article, click here.

For the contact information for the legislators, use the sources below:
MS Coast Legislators Database
Click to find the information on your representative.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.stepscoalition.org/?p=1756

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