2006 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Harvey

Senate Concurrent Resolution 595


     WHEREAS, Phil Bass is retiring in March 2006 as Director of the Office of Pollution Control in the Department of Environmental Quality after 35 years of dedicated public service; and

     WHEREAS, Phil Bass, a native of Bassfield, Mississippi, is a 5th generation Mississippian and resident of the town named for his great-great-grandfather.  He grew up farming and learning to love and appreciate the natural beauty of his home state, which grew into a career in conservation and environmental protection; and

     WHEREAS, Phil started his career at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 1973 as an aquatic biologist after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi and spending two years teaching junior high science.  For 35 years, Phil has worked steadily and deliberately to move the course of Mississippi's ecological history; and

     WHEREAS, after four years working in the DEQ lab, Phil served as the Lab Director from 1977 to 1992.  From 1992 to 2000 he was the Chief of Field Services, leading the lab, three DEQ regional field offices, and the Environmental Operator Training Program.  In 2000, he was appointed to Director of the Office of Pollution Control, the office responsible for all of the agency's environmental programs; and

     WHEREAS, Phil's career at DEQ is marked by many positions of notoriety and leadership.  He began the state's first state-wide biological monitoring program.  He implemented the use of biological indicators at DEQ.  During his 15 year tenure as the DEQ Lab Director, he conducted DEQ's first bioassy.  He began the state's first fish tissue monitoring program, a program that has significantly contributed to major changes in the application of agricultural chemicals and in the processing of paper products.  He developed the first laboratory Standard Operating Procedure, a step that put DEQ in a better position to defend its actions to conserve and protect Mississippi's public health and environment.  He led the effort to fund and build a modern DEQ laboratory facility to raise the level of respect and the availability of sound, scientific data; and

     WHEREAS, Phil has taken many innovative and courageous courses of action to address serious environmental challenges.  He has worked aggressively to investigate and prosecute fish-kill cases.  From 1988 to 1993, Phil worked on the controversial dioxin issue, and in the mid-1990's, Phil secured funding to address the issue of mercury in fish.  In 2000, in his new role as Director of the Office of Pollution Control, Phil's strong support was instrumental in the development of an Index of Biological Integrity, an index tailored to Mississippi's native fauna and stream types, which has been nationally recognized; and

     WHEREAS, Phil is the founding father and early President of the Southeastern Water Pollution Biologists Association, an organization now more than 30 years old.  He has held numerous positions of leadership with EPA's Gulf of Mexico Program Office.  He served on the Mississippi Water and Pollution Control Board of Governors.  He was appointed by the Governor as Mississippi's representative to the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference.  He started and chaired the Mississippi Fish Tissue Task Force.  He served on the Agriculture Aviation Advisory Board.  He chaired the Lower Mississippi Conservation Committee which includes five other state agencies; and

     WHEREAS, for his passionate commitment to Mississippi's environment, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation recognized Phil Bass as the 2004 MWF Fisheries Conservationist of the Year; and

     WHEREAS, Phil and wife, Jane, have been married for 39 years.  They have three children:  son, Michael, and two daughters, Lauren and Megan; and

     WHEREAS, whether as a regulator, a teacher, a supervisor, or a practicing scientist, Phil has improved the health of Mississippi's land, air, water, and all of the inhabitants who depend on these elements, and it is with great pride that we recognize the career and professional commitment of this public servant whose devotion to Mississippi's environment and its people has brought honor to his agency and to the State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend Phil Bass on his outstanding career of public service and his dedication to Mississippi's natural resources and public health, and we extend to him and his family the best wishes of the Legislature on the occasion of his retirement after 35 years of service.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Phil Bass, be forwarded to the Commission on Environmental Quality and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.