JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Hinds County judge says the state must write a better study of the economic impact of proposed offshore gas and oil exploration in parts of the Mississippi Sound.
Chancery Court Judge William Singletary ruled Thursday that the study prepared by the Mississippi Development Authority was "severely lacking."
Singletary found MDA only considered the impacts of leasing - and not actual drilling - when leasing leads to drilling.
Singletary's ruling at least temporarily stalls MDA's attempts to enact the rules, which would allow the state to lease parts of the sound for drilling. Because the tracts are expected to yield natural gas and gas prices are now relatively low, it was unclear whether any drillers would seek leases.
The Sierra Club and Gulf Restoration Network sued to block the rules.