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Turkey Creek Military Facility Can Proceed Despite Environmental Worries, Court Rules

The Mississippi Port Authority can build a U.S. Department of Defense storage building that could contain explosive ammunition in the historically Black communities of Turkey Creek and Forest Heights, the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled this month. Residents are considering appealing the case to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“This community from the very beginning, so going back years, has been saying that they’re an environmental justice community. It’s a community that has not received the attention it needs, and this is just one more example of how the state is expecting their community to bear an outside burden, like the siting of a Department of Defense facility,” Earthjustice Gulf Regional Office Senior Attorney Rodrigo Cantú told the Mississippi Free Press on Feb. 15, a day after the ruling.

Thirteen miles of Turkey Creek connect the historic communities of Turkey Creek and Forest Heights in Gulfport, Miss., where formerly enslaved Africans bought and settled the 320 acres of Turkey Creek in 1866.

Residents in the communities have long opposed developing the area and previously challenged the Mississippi Port Authority when it wanted to put commercial poultry freezers on the former fertilizer plant site after Hurricane Katrina wrecked its chicken export business.

Click above to read the decision.

The Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board granted a water-quality certification to the State Port Authority at Gulfport to build a storage facility for cargo and equipment in the North Port Property of Gulfport in 2019.

The plaintiffs in the case are EEECHO, Inc.; Anointed Temple AOH Church; John Johnson; Glenn Cobb; Lattie Grubbs; and North Gulfport Community Land Conservancy, Inc. They first challenged the decision in the Harrison County Chancery Court, which affirmed the port authority’s and permit board’s decision, and then appealed to the Court of Appeals.

North Port Is ‘In Their Community’

Rodrigo Cantú said the permit board failed to look at the water-quality criteria when assessing the site and did not consider the consequences of storing explosives in a historically Black residential area near Turkey Creek.

“Our concern is about the nearby Turkey Creek, which is already a compromised fluvial body

Read original article by clicking here.

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