Governor Tate Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba welcomed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to Mississippi’s capital city and joined together to give the state an update on the Jackson water crisis.
The three officials discussed the current status of the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, long-term plans for Jackson’s water system, and where funding for repairs will be derived. Reeves and Lumumba also addressed the opposing statements each gave regarding Jackson’s lack of planning during separate press conferences earlier this week.
On Monday, Reeves explained that the state has not yet received either a long-term or short-term plan to resolve the city’s lack of clean water, saying that the possibility of privatizing Jackson’s water system is now on the table.
“I personally believe that we cannot depend upon the city of Jackson to provide that. And, therefore, we are going to work with our state and federal partners and with input from the city to develop both intermediate and long-term plans,” Reeves said. “Obviously, as we move into the intermediate and long-term planning, there’s got to be a serious conversation, and the state legislature will be involved and engaged in that.”
Lumumba responded to Reeves’ comment in a press conference on Tuesday, stating that documentation has been sent to the state including a formal Strategic Capital Improvement Plan.
“This informed the subsequent request for funding that you see at the water treatment facility. This was actually commissioned, I believe somewhere around 2019, 2018,” Lumumba said.
The mayor presented additional documents during the event, some of which included a list of needed repairs at the water treatment facility and the amount each project would cost.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Reeves was questioned if he stood by his original statement, to which he responded that he hopes the planning stages moving forward will become a “collaborative effort between the city, the federal government, and the state.”
Currently, a plan has not been released by any of the three sectors of government on how the facility’s issues will be resolved in the future.