Published March 5, 2019
CHOCTAW, Miss. — The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) along with CenterPoint Energy held a valve turning ceremony last week in Choctaw, Mississippi (Neshoba County).
This event commemorates an event 20-plus years in the making.
Bringing natural gas to the Tribe was a project the Economic Development office has worked on for over 20 years. After Tribal Council approval and securing the needed right-of-way from the Bureau of Indian Affairs the laying of pipe began in July 2017. A total of 16.5 miles of pipe was laid from behind the Weyerhaeuser plant in Philadelphia to the Pearl River Community on Highway 16 west. Fifty government, commercial and industrial buildings, including Choctaw Health Center, Smith John Justice Complex, and Pearl River Resort properties located in the community, have been metered for natural gas. Currently, only the newly built Tribal Council Hall is natural gas serviced; however, the goal is to have all buildings outfitted by the end of 2019.
The ceremony featured remarks by Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, Central District Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown, and CenterPoint Energy District Director Jason Fabre, Jr.
“I am very proud to say we have seen this project to its completion and that we will see the benefits for many more decades and generations,” said Chief Anderson. “Changing to natural gas will be a huge cost savings for our Tribe with an estimate $1 million per year energy cost. This project truly demonstrates what can be accomplished when all parties work together collectively towards a goal. I am very proud of this team and the end results.”
The Tribe assisted in the cost of construction with a fixed $1.4 million contribution/aid of construction. There is not a current plan to bring natural gas lines to the residential customers of the Pearl River Community. Partridge Propane has and will continue to provide wonderful service to those residents.
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