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EPA administrator visits Jackson to discuss infrastructure

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Jackson residents discuss their concerns about roadways and water access with EPA Administrator Regan
Kobee Vance, MPB News

Administration with the Environmental Protection Agency is kicking off a three-state tour in Jackson to investigate where federal infrastructure funding can best be utilized. They say their top priority is seeking environmental justice for residents in the state’s capital city.



Mississippi will soon receive $4.46 billion to use in updating infrastructure across the state, and nearly $500 million will be allocated towards water infrastructure. Administration with the EPA is visiting with local leaders and activists to learn more about how that money could be used to address the City of Jackson’s water woes.

The City of Jackson is under an order from the Environmental Protection Agency to update it’s aging water system. The city had a month-long water outage in February following a winter storm, and a lawsuit is also underway claiming the city has allowed excess levels of lead to leach into the water supply.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the agency is focusing on environmental justice to help communities of color that have faced discrimination through years of infrastructure neglect.

“And so we’re gonna work very diligently with our state partners to be sure that in months, not years, communities like Jackson will be able to receive the funds and move forward with investing those funds,” says Regan. “I’m pledging to provide that partnership because Jackson Mississippi deserves to get the resources.”

Administrator Regan says examples of environmental injustice are aging water pipes, pollution and damaged roadways that contribute to the hardships faced in communities of color. He says a large part of correcting these problems is not from behind a desk in Washington D.C., but visiting with local activists to hear what solutions are already underway.

“So we’re gonna look at what is working from our existing infrastructure so that we can get that money out as quickly as possible,” says Regan. “But all of the money won’t go through the traditional means. Some of the resources will have to go through new programming to be sure that we tackle those issues that GAO has laid out.”

The administration will also visit Louisiana and Texas over the next few days to continue learning how infrastructure neglect has affected underserved communities.