Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians holds valve-turning ceremony

District Director CenterPoint Energy Jason Fabre, Jr. presents Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson a plaque to commemorate the day's event. Also pictured: Central District Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown, 2018-2019 Choctaw Indian Princess Sydni Jade Tangle, Economic Development Director John Hendrix, and PRR Director of Project Management Office Michelle York. Back row: CenterPoint Energy District Engineer Micha Edwards, CenterPoint Energy Area Manager Lewis Holifield, Tribal Maintenance Director Reggie Shumaker, Development Division Director James Denson, Pearl River Resort CEO Sonny Johnson, MBCI Utilities Director Ricky Cook, and MBCI Utilities Maintenance Supervisor Max Maxey.(Photo: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians)

Bringing cost-saving natural gas to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been more than 20 years in the making

News Release

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) along with CenterPoint Energy held a valve-turning ceremony February 27 in Choctaw, Mississippi (Neshoba County). The ceremony commemorates an event 20+ years in the making. 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.

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Pictured: Central District Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown, Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, 2018-2019 Choctaw Indian Princess Sydni Jade Tangle, and District Director CenterPoint Energy Jason Fabre, Jr.(Photo: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians)

“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 saving for our Tribe with an estimated $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.” 

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, Mississippi 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 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.  

To learn more, contact the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Office of Public Information at 601-663-7532.

About the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, under the leadership of Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, has an enrolled membership of more than 11,000 people and is the only federally recognized tribe in the State of Mississippi. 

Headquartered in Choctaw, Mississippi, the tribe has emerged as a leader in economic development. The tribe provides a range of governmental services including schools, a hospital, medical clinics, police and fire protection, courts, and a center for the elderly, among many others. 

Phyliss J. Anderson serves as the first female Chief in Mississippi Choctaw history. 

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