Jackson State University hosted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba during a round table discussion with state and local community leaders as they provided updates on the looming Jackson water crisis.
“When institutions of learning struggle to meet basic needs, the impact spreads well beyond dollars, learning outcomes are affected, student retention is impacted,” stated JSU President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., during his opening remarks.
This is the EPA administrator’s fourth visit to Jackson during his efforts to mitigate Jackson’s ongoing water woes. Regan vowed to exhaust all resources to resolve the infrastructural problem.
“Every single community is a top priority for this administration, and that’s why Jackson was our first stop on our Journey to Justice tour last year and why I’ve been back to this community four times,” said Regan. “The people of Jackson, Mississippi, like everyone else in this country, deserve access to clean, safe, affordable water.”
Regan said the EPA is working with the city’s mayor, state officials, and FEMA as part of the emergency drinking water response efforts.
“I’m thrilled to have the presence of the EPA administrator once again in the city of Jackson,” said Lumumba. “It emphasizes the importance of our city. It emphasizes how important it is that we find a solution to the problem.”
During the round-table discussion, Regan announced that the EPA and the Department of Justice want to develop a judicially and enforceable solution overseen by a federal court to deliver safe and reliable drinking water for the people of Jackson. He began those efforts in September and feels confident about progress.
Regan explained how the EPA found financial resources to provide some immediate assistance to some of Jackson’s financial burden as city leaders work to finance the replacement of the water treatment plant.
“I made a commitment to the mayor and the people of Jackson that the EPA would prioritize efforts to address this problem,” Regan declared as he addressed attendees. “I am here for the fourth time this year because I want to continue to hear directly from you and your thoughts on some of the community-led solutions that we’re going to fold into the midterm and long-term plans that we have.”
The EPA administrator assured Jackson residents in attendance that he and government and local officials are committed to finding a viable resolution.