MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2005 Regular Session

To: Ports and Marine Resources; Environment Prot, Cons and Water Res

By: Senator(s) Gollott

Senate Bill 2483

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-27-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO AMEND SECTION 49-27-61, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE FOR DREDGE MATERIAL DISPOSAL; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 49-27-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-27-5. (a) "Coastal wetlands" means all publicly-owned lands subject to the ebb and flow of the tide; which are below the watermark of ordinary high tide; all publicly-owned accretions above the watermark of ordinary high tide and all publicly-owned submerged water-bottoms below the watermark of ordinary high tide and * * * includes the flora and fauna on the wetlands and in the wetlands.

(b) "Department" means the Department of Marine Resources.

(c) "Regulated activity" means any of the following activities:

(i) The dredging, excavating or removing of soil, mud, sand, gravel, flora, fauna or aggregate of any kind from any coastal wetland;

(ii) The dumping, filling or depositing of any soil, stones, sand, gravel, mud, aggregate of any kind or garbage, either directly or indirectly, on or in any coastal wetlands;

(iii) Killing or materially damaging any flora or fauna on or in any coastal wetland;

(iv) The erection on coastal wetlands of structures which materially affect the ebb and flow of the tide; and

(v) The erection of any structure or structures on suitable sites for water dependent industry.

(d) "Dredging" means the removal or displacement by any means of soil, sand, gravel, shells or other material, whether of intrinsic value or not, from coastal wetlands.

(e) "Executive director" means the Executive Director of the Department of Marine Resources.

(f) "Filling" means either the displacement of waters by the deposition into coastal wetlands of soil, sand, gravel, shells or other material; or the artificial alteration of water levels or water currents by physical structures, drainage ditches or otherwise.

(g) "Person" means any natural person, partnership, joint stock company, corporation, unincorporated association or society, or the state and any agency thereof, or any county, municipality or political subdivision, or any other corporation of any character whatsoever.

(h) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources.

(i) "Water dependent industry" means those commercial, industrial or manufacturing activities which, for purposes basic to their existence must occur or locate on or adjacent to the estuaries, sounds, channels, shores or marshlands of the coast. "Suitable sites for water dependent industry" means those areas of land which are suitable for the development of water dependent industry because of their proximity to waters of navigable depth, size and configuration, topography, soil conditions and access to other means of transportation. After consultation with local governments, port authorities, development commissions, port and harbor commissions and other interested parties, and after full consideration of zoning ordinances duly adopted by local governments, the commission shall designate those sites it deems suitable for water dependent industry. The definition of "suitable sites for water dependent industry" shall be limited to, but not necessarily inclusive of, waterfront sites owned by county port authorities, development commissions and port and harbor commissions, and to areas that are now or are later made to be within one thousand (1,000) feet of the centerline of any natural or maintained channel having a depth of seven (7) feet or greater at mean low water. However, additional sites may be included in the definition of suitable sites for water dependent industry with the concurrence of the board of supervisors in the county affected.

SECTION 2. Section 49-27-61, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-27-61. (1) (a) The commission shall charge Fifty Cents (50) per cubic yard for any sand or gravel removed from wetlands and Twenty-five Cents (25) per cubic yard for any other materials removed from coastal wetlands by a permittee or his agent under the terms of any permit issued.

(b) There shall be no charge levied by the commission for the removal of one hundred (100) cubic yards or less of any material removed from wetlands by a permittee or his agent under the terms of any permit issued.

(c) The commission shall waive these charges on any project of a governmental agency or any project wherein expenditures are made as the result of a governmental grant or governmental bond proceeds.

(d) Any party participating in the beneficial use of dredge materials programs under subsection (2) shall be exempt from these charges.

(2) The department may allow any party permitted to conduct dredging activities to participate in the department programs involving beneficial use of dredge materials. If approved by the executive director, or his designee, a party may deposit acceptable dredge materials in a designated location for a fee not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the fair market cost to transport and dispose of the material in an approved upland site. The department shall consider in-kind services for offsetting depositional charges.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.