OTHER OPINION: Protect Louisiana, but also south Mississippi

By Sun Herald

South Mississippians are accustomed to keeping an eye on the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season. Now it appears we must also keep an eye on our neighbors to the west.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has told the Sun Herald he’s worried a new levee in Louisiana could place low-lying areas of South Mississippi in danger because water pushed inland by a storm surge would be diverted toward Hancock County and other parts of the Coast.
“There’s a bathtub effect to this,” he said. “If you’ve got X amount of water and you put it in a small bathtub, it’s going to rise high. In the event they cut off areas that would normally flood and take some of the water off, then we are going to have more water here.”
At issue is the possibility of a 24-foot barrier that would either close or partially close Lake Pontchartrain.
South Mississippians “have overcome so much,” Hosemann said. “We simply cannot put them at risk. … There simply cannot be any levee structure that would increase the probability of increased water in Mississippi.”
Hosemann was asked by Gov. Phil Bryant to work with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources ahead of discussions with Louisiana officials.
Garret Graves, chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, said officials are aware of the concerns Mississippi officials have and there are no plans that would harm Mississippi.
“We will continue to work closely with our friends in Mississippi and the Corps (of Engineers) on any project that may affect their state before moving forward,” said Graves.
We are, indeed, friends.
But to remain good neighbors, there must not be any effort to lower the risk of a storm surge in Louisiana that increases the risk of flooding in Mississippi.
Sun Herald, Biloxi/Gulfport