Federal lawmakers took a closer look at Jackson’s water and sewer issues that have led to recent federal and state intervention.
Unfunded infrastructure mandates, environmental justice, water equity, and climate change were among the topics discussed Wednesday during a Congressional Homeland Security Committee hearing, with Jackson’s water crisis at the center of the discussion.
Led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, the hearing focused on what is needed for cities like Jackson to be prepared for future infrastructure issues rather than just focusing on fixing the problem at hand.
He emphasized the nation is suffering simultaneous disasters, from the wildfires in the western U.S. to the typhoon in Alaska and the hurricane in Puerto Rico. Add to that the flooding in Jackson that caused the city’s water system to fail, leaving more than 100,000 people without clean water.
“It hit close to home,” Thompson said.
Thompson said a lot of times when money is earmarked for infrastructure improvements, it goes toward more affluent areas, leaving communities of color and low-income areas in disarray. In addition, people of color tend to be impacted more by natural disasters.
“As the recent water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, has highlighted, federal policy to secure the resilience of the nation’s critical water infrastructure must include consideration of environmental justice, water equity, and…