The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Thursday that it will investigate Mississippi state agencies to determine whether they discriminated against Jackson’s black population by not improving the city’s defunct water system.
The EPA’s civil rights and environmental justice offices stated that they will probe the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the state’s health department (MDH) to find out whether the state violated the Civil Rights Act by not giving more funds to the Democrat-run city. The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on behalf of nine Jackson residents who alleged that state agencies racially discriminated against the residents. (RELATED: Biden Plans To ‘End Hunger’ In The US Through The Power Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion)
“The Complaint alleges that MDH and MDEQ discriminated against the majority Black population of the City of Jackson on the basis of race in their funding of water infrastructure and treatment programs and activities, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964,” the response letter reads.
Jackson’s water became unsafe to drink in August and failed to run at all in some areas of the city after a rainstorm flooding caused the city government’s water plant to fail due to low water pressure. Following the water system’s collapse, four plaintiffs brought a class action lawsuit against Democratic Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the City of Jackson and the Siemens corporation, seeking damages over the city’s dangerous drinking water, claiming that the defendants knowingly exposed them to unsafe water.
The EPA will also investigate whether the state agencies put procedures in place in place to prevent racial discrimination, according to the letter. Jackson was given nearly $75 million by the 2021 infrastructure bill to improve its water supply but despite this, the NAACP complaint alleges that Mississippi’s health and environmental departments prevented the city’s black population from receiving the funding.
The EPA, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the State Department of Health did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.