2003 Regular Session
To: Ports and Marine Resources
By: Senator(s) Dawkins
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-27-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE PILE SUPPORTED PROJECTS IN COASTAL WETLANDS TO COMPLY WITH CONSTRUCTION CONDITIONS ESTABLISHED BY COMMISSION ON MARINE RESOURCES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-27-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-27-7. This chapter shall not apply to the following activities, areas and entities:
(a) The accomplishment of emergency decrees of any duly appointed health officer of a county or municipality or of the state, acting to protect the public health;
(b) The conservation, repletion and research activities of the Commission on Marine Resources, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium when acting through the Mississippi Universities Marine Center;
(c) Hunting, erecting duck blinds, fishing, shellfishing and trapping when and where otherwise permitted by law;
(d) Swimming, hiking, boating or other recreation that causes no material harm to the flora and fauna of the wetlands;
(e) The exercise of riparian rights by the owner of the riparian rights, if the construction and maintenance of piers, boathouses and similar structures are constructed on pilings that permit a reasonably unobstructed ebb and flow of the tide and comply with construction conditions established by the commission. The riparian owner may reasonably alter the wetland at the end of his pier in order to allow docking of his vessels;
(f) The normal maintenance and repair of bulkheads, piers, roads and highways existing on the date of enactment of this chapter, and all interstate highways planned but not yet under construction; and financed in part by Federal Interstate Highway Trust Funds;
(g) Wetlands developed in the future by federal, state or county governments for the establishment of a superport or a pipeline buoy terminal for deep-draft, ocean-going vessels, including but not limited to, wetlands adjacent to Petit Bois Island and the Bayou Casotte Channel in Jackson County, Mississippi;
(h) The Biloxi Bridge and Park Commission, Biloxi Port Commission, Long Beach Port Commission, Pass Christian Port Commission, Pascagoula Port Commission, and any municipal or local port authorities;
(i) Wetlands used under the terms of the use permit granted by Chapter 395, Laws of 1954;
(j) Any activity affecting wetlands that is associated with or is necessary for the exploration, production or transportation of oil or gas when such activity is conducted under a current and valid permit granted by a duly constituted agency of the State of Mississippi;
(k) Activities of any mosquito control commission which is a political subdivision or agency of the State of Mississippi;
(l) The Fisherman's Wharf in Biloxi and the Buccaneer State Park in Hancock County;
(m) Wetlands conveyed by the state for industrial development thereon pursuant to Section 211, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, and pursuant to Section 29-3-61, Mississippi Code of 1972;
(n) The activities of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission affecting wetlands within its jurisdiction;
(o) The activities of the Harrison County Development Commission affecting wetlands within its jurisdiction;
(p) The activities of the Jackson County Port Authority affecting wetlands within its jurisdiction;
(q) The activities of the Mississippi State Port at Gulfport affecting wetlands within its jurisdiction; and
(r) In the case of regulated activities which, in the judgment of the director or his delegate, after an on-site inspection, have no harmful impact on the environment and which make no substantial change in the wetlands, the director may issue a certificate of waiver, and no permit shall be required.
All activities, areas and entities exempt from the regulatory provisions, whether by name or reference, when carrying out what would otherwise be regulated activities in coastal wetlands shall at all times adhere to the policy as set forth in Section 49-27-3. Each entity shall notify the commission of all such activities so that the commission may be fully advised of all activities in the coastal wetlands.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.