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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in talks to help the city of Jackson, Mississippi fix their water crisis.
At a meeting Monday between Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and city officials and EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the potential of a federal lawsuit against the city was revealed but hopes that negotiations can prevent the need for one.
“The people of Jackson, Mississippi, have lacked access to safe and reliable water for decades. After years of neglect, Jackson’s water system finally reached a breaking point this summer, leaving tens of thousands of people without any running water for weeks,” Regan said. “These conditions are unacceptable in the United States of America.”
A letter obtained by WLBT-TV showed the Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section was “prepared to file an action” against the city under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“The United States also believes that an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health exists, as evidenced by the roughly 300 boil water notices that have been issued over the past two years,” the letter reads.
The EPA issued a notice in January that Jackson’s water system violates the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Jackson Water Crisis Was Preventable
Mississippi’s Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann (R) said the city’s water and sewer system is “on the brink of collapsing“. Republican Governor Tate Reeves echoed Hosemann’s concern, saying the pump failure means the city won’t be able “to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets,” or meet other critical needs.
The City of Jackson was first placed under a boil water advisory on July 29th. The order came from the state health department after sampling showed the water may harbor bacteria. For the advisory to be lifted, the city would need two consecutive days of clear testing.
In mid-August, when Mayor Lumumba publicly addressed the water issues, he hinted the problem was with the state’s testing method.
“It’s one out of 120 samples that are pooled across the city. It’s consistently been around one, one site or one sample out of the 120 that comes up poor, which is a little strange,” Lumumba told reporters.
“I’m not alleging anything, but we want to get to the bottom of, you know, what we are seeing.”
The boil order from July was still in place when the recent floods hit.
No Water Not The Only Problem Facing Mississippi
The water crisis in Jackson is not the only problem impacting residents of Mississippi.
Newly revealed text messages show Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre was aware that funds were being improperly routed to him in pursuit of a volleyball facility at his alma mater, Southern Miss, where his daughter played volleyball.
The state of Mississippi paid Favre $1.1 million in 2017 and 2018 to make motivational speeches — out of federal welfare funds intended for needy families.
Brett Favre: Will the media find out that we’re using welfare funds intended to help the poorest residents of America’s poorest state to build a volleyball center?
Nancy New: Nah. Oh yeah, the governor is fully on board!@ayewolfe five years later: https://t.co/rWXHRXISsu pic.twitter.com/wo3QuIYXaY
— Adam Ganucheau (@GanucheauAdam) September 13, 2022
Not only did Favre get paid for speeches he never delivered, but while doing so, he diverted funds from qualified welfare Mississippi recipients.
Favre hasn’t been accused of a crime or charged, and he declined recent interview requests from numerous media publications.