by Vivian Austin, Cross Posted from Gulflive
The Moss Point Board of Aldermen agreed to allow attorney Amy St. Pe to examine its contract with Plains South Cap to determine if the city can stop the sale of city-owned property the company needs for its pipeline from Eight Mile, Ala., to Chevron USA.
The move came after Alderman Sherwood Bradford told the board that that the liquefied gas going through the pipelines will be tar sands.
“It’s dangerous, poisonous, and one bad leak could lead to an environmental problem,” he said.
Tar sands is an unconventional type of petroleum deposit also commonly called oil sands but more technically known as bituminous sands. They are loose sand or partially consolidated sandstone containing naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, and water saturated with a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen, or tar due to its similar appearance, odor and color.
Bradford said he had researched tar sands found that places such as Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Mich., are still trying to recover from environmental damage.
He said the city was never fully informed about what was going to be piped across 21 miles of land in Jackson County. He said the decision to allow the purchase of land in his ward was rushed and “the most negligent move to come to Moss Point.”
However, Alderman George Martin questioned whether tar sands is any more dangerous than the pressurized gas that now flows through city gas lines. Bradford said it is to the environment.
Bradford pushed to have community development personnel check into EPA examination of the matter, and to inform the public to protest.
Mayor Aneice Liddell said the contract has been approved. As well, St. Pe said representatives with the company could take the city to court over the matter, and to take the land by eminent domain, arguing that its usage would be for the greater good of the community.
“We would have a fair shot, but I wouldn’t give it a high percentage,” said St. Pe.
She said the company did not have to come to the city, but only talked to officials because they wanted to purchase the land, which is what Plains South has been doing with individual landowners.
“They are misinformed,” said Alderwoman Shirley Chambers. “We need to make sure people are getting the proper information.”
St. Pe said that the state Public Service Commission does not have jurisdiction in the matter. According to Mississippi Code 77-3-3(d)(ii) the state exempts from the definition of a public utility the distribution or sale of liquefied petroleum or gas.
She said the land sale is not final, but asked to look over the contract for legal purposes.