The amendment codifies Mississippi’s claim to mineral rights under federal lands and allows drilling for natural gas under the Gulf Islands National Seashore — a thin necklace of barrier islands that drapes the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.

As a preliminary step to drilling, the rider permits seismic testing, which involves detonating sound-wave explosions to locate oil and gas deposits in the park. Two of the five Mississippi islands are wilderness areas, and the environs are home to federally protected fish and birds, a large array of sea turtles and the gulf’s largest concentration of bottlenose dolphins.

Read the rest of the story in The Los Angeles Times.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore has long been a Gulf Coast playground. The small islands, with white sand beaches ringed by clear shallow water, sit perched on the edge of what locals affectionately call the Redneck Riviera.