Thursday, December 14, 2023

EPA: Deadline? What Deadline?

 Note: This post was first published on October 10.  However, it is just as applicable today so it is republished.  

Never let it be said the law applies to the EPA.  The NAACP filed an environmental civil rights complaint against the state of Mississippi a year ago yet the agency still has not ruled on the complaint even though the law required it to do so within 180 days.   

The NAACP filed a Title VI complaint with the EPA's  Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights against the state of Mississippi on September 27, 2022.  The complaint charges the state intentionally deprived Jackson of the money it needed to ensure its citizens had safe drinking water. 

The civil rights organization represents several Jackson residents in the complaint.  The plaintiffs are NAACP President Derrick Johnson, former Mayor Harvey Johnson, Frank Figgers, Gwendolyn Burt, Dr. Akemi Stout, Ed Sivak, Deidre Long, Charles Jones, and Jane Doe.  The defendants (#6) are the Governor, DFA, Health Department, MDEQ, and the State Treasurer.  

The plaintiffs claim the defendants engaged in "a long-standing pattern and practice of systematically depriving Jackson the funds it needs to operate and maintain its water facilities.  State agencies did so by diverting federal funds meant for Jackson to majority-white communities.  

The NAACP claimed the Health Department only issued, three, yes, THREE Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund loans to Jackson in 25 years, obviously a case of blatant, bold, and brazen discrimination.

However, the state had a great response to the complaint.  Jackson only got three loans because it only asked for three loans.  Earlier post with supporting documentation.  The Health Department could only approve what was requested.  MDEQ approved every loan as well.  JJ reported on January 18: 

MDEQ administers the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (WPCRF) loan program.  EPA reviews the program every year and never found any violations.  Director Wells stated  "Allegations are MDEQ has denied funding to Jackson through the WPCRF program are untrue."  

MDEQ approved twelve loans to Jackson from 1992 to 2018.  The total amount of the loans are $84,403,304.  Jackson repaid four loans while eight loans are in repayment.  The remaining balance due is $47,772,824.  Jackson has one active project in progress.  The design of the project is underway and construction is estimated to start in July.  The loan amount for the active project is $31,683,000.  

Thus, MDEQ has approved a grand total of $116,086,304 in WPCRF funding for Jackson's wastewater infrastructure projects.  

The response states Jackson's population is less than 5% of the state's population yet it received 27% of the loans in the program.  It received 49% of the loans issued in 2021 and 54% of the loans issued in 2018.  

The EPA was supposed to rule on the complaint by April 18.  However, the agency claimed it needed more time because it did not know how to open, wait for it, a zip file.  Apparently knowing how to right-click on a file is not taught in Federal Gummint 101.  WLBT reported in May: 

Part of the problem, according to correspondence from MDEQ Executive Director Chris Wells, is the EPA’s inability to open files submitted to it as part of the investigation.

The four-page letter outlines the EPA’s failure to open zip files submitted to EPA by MDEQ and its failure to inform MDEQ in a timely manner that it was unable to open them.

He says that the EPA’s failure to communicate with MDEQ shouldn’t delay findings in the investigation from being released.

“Had EPA advised MDEQ sooner that it was having difficulty accessing the files, MDEQ could have helped offer a solution,” he wrote. “It cannot be said that EPA’s failure to meet its regulatory deadline is MDEQ’s fault.” WLBT article. You can't make this up. 

The EPA still has not ruled on the case even though the complaint was filed 378 days ago.  Some governments are apparently more equal than others. 

Kingfish note: The EPA will probably drag this case out as long as it can.  The state approved every loan application.  The EPA buried the various state agencies in document requests.  There is little to support the complaint and the EPA knows it.  


Anonymous said...

Oh what a sad life these people live, always having to blame someone else for their problems.

Anonymous said...

Those named plaintiffs would look really good behind bars-

Anonymous said...

It's the age of victim-hood and race cards.

Steve said...

Perhaps this lawsuit will be heard just after the fines are levied for dumping billions of gallons of raw shitwater into the Pearl on a regular basis for years. I still contend that if this was a Republican run city EPA OIG would have frog marched the responsible officials out of City Hall in cuffs in front of all the major network cameras.

Anonymous said...

But I thought that the left was the tree-hugging environmental save-the-planet party?

Anonymous said...

The code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

Anonymous said...

The truth simply does not fit the kind of narrative the Democrats and the national media want to project for ole Mississippi. The plaintiffs are doing the best they can, but it just won't fly. Something else will come along, always does. In the meantime just stall.

Anonymous said...

How DARE you racist gubmint agencies only give the City all the money they requested every time it was requested!

Anonymous said... right.

Anonymous said...

What do y'all expect? Do you expect democrat controlled EPA to expose everyone involved as corrupt and incompetent? Please!

Anonymous said...

DeJa fuk'n VU. We plowed this same ground eight months ago. Please don't start recirculating old news.

Anonymous said...

The 5% of the population argument is ridiculous. Jackson is still the largest city is Mississippi. And, the system is therefore the largest and most expensive to maintain.

The decision should prioritize the critical nature of any water problems. For example, is the water safe to drink and is the sewage leak posing health problems?

I understand some rural areas don't like the inconvenience of septic tanks and wells, but that goes hand in hand with rural existence in every state or buy their own pipes for drainage.

Also overlooked is the amount of taxes urban areas generate as opposed to rural areas and small town. Look up the source of the largest contribution of sales taxes.

And, by the way, without a large, more sophisticated urban city to support teaching hospitals and the arts, a state's economic development isn't very competitive!

I truly hate seeing racism continue to cause us to shoot ourselves in the leg (worse than foot). Be as prejudice as you like, I don't care. Don't interact with those who aren't just like you in every way. I don't even care if people look down on us for our speech or lack of polish. But please don't leave us in a different century and make us less prosperous in the process. I mind being assumed to be stupid and/or dishonest! That has made us targets of every corrupt political and financial scheme there is and economic patsies who line the pockets of those laughing at us on the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

I'll summarize what @9:00am said....just continue to pour good money after bad down a bottomless pit, because if you don't, you're racist.

Anonymous said...

@9:00 am Water systems are meant to be self sustaining. You should get out and tell all of the people who are being so mistreated that they should actually pay their bill. Or better yet, unhook that straight pipe and go legit!

Anonymous said...

@9:00 you are incorrect. You mention the amount of taxes. Water/sewer systems shouldn't utilize taxes. They should be operated solely from the rate base. And many systems do that every day.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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