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EPA Head Gathers City, State, Federal Leaders to Address Jackson Water Crisis

JACKSON, Miss.—For the first time in recent memory, virtually all stakeholders in the future of Mississippi’s capital city came together Wednesday to discuss the Jackson water crisis that has left more than 160,000 residents without clean water for over a month. 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba, U.S. Sens. Cindy Hyde Smith and Roger Wicker, and Reps. Bennie Thompson and Michael Guest held a joint meeting on Wednesday to discuss the immediate future of Jackson’s beleaguered water system.

Afterwards, at a press event at Jackson State University, Regan offered an understated summary of the crisis and his agency’s response.

“Jackson, like many cities across the country, has a fragile water system. It’s our job to ensure that every person in this country has access to clean drinking water,” Regan said in the Jackson State University Student Center.

Reeves and Lumumba flanked him on either side. The crisis itself is far from over, but a collective meeting of leadership from the State, City and federal governments may signal cooperation long missing in Jackson’s recovery.

‘There Are More Resources’

At the presser, Regan stressed that the current focus is the immediate needs of the water system—maintaining pressure and ending the boil-water notice that has now extended for longer than a month. “We had a very good conversation about the urgency of staying close and working in a coordinated fashion for the people of Jackson,” Regan said.

The meeting’s second purpose was to discuss the funds available for “medium-term solutions” with all parties involved, the EPA administrator said.

“The State of Mississippi will receive more than 26 million in SRF (State Revolving Loan Funds) in 2022. And that’s on top of 30 million that’s available in 2021 loan funds for Jackson … in

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