Mississippi's Okatoma River gets needed attention


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - July 12, 2007 – More than 100 employees from Mississippi Power floated the Okatoma River Saturday in 52 canoes and kayaks to give the valued river a little TLC. This is the 12th year Mississippi Power employees have held the Renew Our Rivers cleanup event on the Okatoma.


“The Renew Our Rivers event provided much-needed cleanup of the Okatoma,” said Jo Ann Clinton, senior division assistant, Mississippi Power. “Our employees and their families enjoy time spent on the Okatoma and we make it our responsibility to keep her free of unsightly debris and litter hazardous to the wildlife and surrounding environment.”


Mississippi Power strategically schedules the cleanup event every year the Saturday after the July 4th holiday to be able to retrieve the most trash.


“Floating the Okatoma River on the 4th of July is a local tradition,” said Clinton. “Folks aren’t always mindful to leave with what they came with and it ends up on the banks along the river.”


Items collected from this year’s cleanup included barbecue grills, truck tires, refrigerators, lawn chairs and even a diving board. Employees found large amounts of what they call “party debris.” This includes beer cans, cigarette butts and plastic bags.


“We hope the Renew Our Rivers initiative catches on with other businesses in the area,” said Terry McDaniel, electrician, Mississippi Power. “It’s a great team building activity for employees and a fun way to get to know one another’s families all while supporting the environment.”


The Renew Our Rivers initiative sprung from Alabama Power’s Renew the Coosa River cleanup project. Today, the group stretches throughout Southern Company, parent company of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia Power, and has collected more than 7 million pounds of litter and debris from Southeast waterways. The Renew Our Rivers initiative will strive for a goal of 11 million pounds of litter and debris collected by the end of 2007.


Media Contact: Cindy Duvall, Mississippi Power Corporate Communications, 228.865.5543 or 1.800.821.6383, cwduvall@southernco.com