In one of his last acts as secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann has filed a civil lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission.
Hosemann announced the suit today in Gulfport.
With casinos and fun lining the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s easy to forget the impact left behind. Secretary State Elect Michael Watson said, “As goes the Coast, so goes the state, it’s an important economic driver, tourism, kind of the mark of who we are as Mississippi.”
But it was tough for the Coast to leave a mark in 2019 as the Bonnet Carre Spillway’s repeated openings devastated the Mississippi Sound. These damages prompted Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann to file a civil lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission.
The lawsuit is requesting a temporary injunction to order the corps to operate the Bonnet Carre Spillway in conjunction with the Morganza Spillway to mitigate future damage to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “This is an arrow in our heart. This kills our fishing industry. It kills our tourism industry. It kills our gaming industry. It kills our individual families, everything. This one thing, the continued opening of the Bonnet Carre without an arbitrary and capricious manner without giving some credence to the fact that they can open up the other side is an arrow in the side of the Coast,” said Hosemann.
Secretary Hosemann’s main objective of the suit is to protect the future of the Gulf Coast and that’s something that isn’t going unnoticed. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes said, “What we’ve seen in really the last eight years are state officials not only understanding the Coast, but spending time here and really making themselves apart of our community. So they get it right off the bat.”
Hosemann moves into the role of lieutenant governor next month, which opens the door for Michael Watson to begin his role as secretary of state.
While a change of command can sometimes cause waves, Watson expects to pick up right where Hosemann has left off. “I’ll be substituted as the plaintiff once Secretary Hosemann moves on to the lieutenant governor’s office and I come in as the secretary of state. So, we’ll continue working here with our team on the Coast, the law firm that we’ve hired here to work on this. We’ll be in touch daily to make sure ‘hey, let’s not drop the ball.’ This is something important to the Coast, but again, not just the Coast, but the state as a whole.”