Wednesday, May 8, 2024

EPA Clears MDEQ in Jackson Environmental Racism Complaint

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued the following statement. 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has found no wrongdoing on the part of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, which was accused of racial discrimination in its funding of wastewater infrastructure and treatment programs and activities.

“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality did everything right,” said MDEQ Executive Director Chris Wells. “Our state is blessed to have its own environmental protection agency through the MDEQ. We are Mississippians regulating Mississippians, and MDEQ is comprised of very capable and fair engineers, scientists, geologists, lawyers and other support staff—all who choose to live here and serve our great state. These allegations were entirely false and have been a distraction to the mission of our agency.”

Per the letter: the investigation found “insufficient evidence to conclude that MDEQ violated Title VI and EPA’s nondiscrimination regulations”. While EPA notes it “identified deficiencies” regarding implementation of certain non-binding “procedural safeguards” those assertions are misleading.

“MDEQ was already doing everything required by the regulations,” said MDEQ Executive Director Chris Wells. “The EPA is taking responsibility for updates and improvements which are not specifically required by the regulations and were in the works long before this complaint was filed.”

The final determination of the EPA in this matter took one year past their own designated deadline of 180 days, even further proving that they have had time to fully investigate the allegations and have found zero evidence that any Title VI violations occurred. They also concluded that MDEQ is meeting all the procedural safeguards required under federal regulations.

Kingfish note: The EPA letter is posted below.  Although the law required EPA to rule on the complaint within 180 days, the EPS did not issue a ruling until 587 days after the complaint was filed.  So much for the law.  

Synopsis of Complaint 

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. 


Anonymous said...

Waiting on Mississippi Today to do a lead story on this development…

Anonymous said...

"These allegations were entirely false and have been a distraction to the mission of our agency."

Fairly strong words coming from a gov't agancy.

Maybe they think the source of the allegations are bumbling idiots.

Kingfish said...

I'm sure Alex will if he is allowed to do so.

Anonymous said...

Alert: Don't you know this in itself is racism!

Anonymous said...

Would like to hear the mayor’s response to this……ain’t gonna happen…struck down AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

F the NAACP. What a grift. What a bunch of pathetic “victims”.

Anonymous said...

"These allegations were entirely false and have been a distraction to the mission of our agency."

I wonder who made a bad impression on the folks at EPA?

Can think of a few possibilities, starting with the mayor and his inner cadre.

Macy said...

The hours that went into this are not few. Look at that opinion. There has to be a more efficient way of dealing with these claims. Maybe a threshold, gatekeeper, process first?

Anonymous said...

LOL Any time Dems can fit "environmental and racism" in the same complaint they feel victory is a given .

MBrookes said...

5/8; 10:28 I have recently been led to believe that, as a white person, my existance is racist.

Anonymous said...

Glad this is over for MDEQ. What a waste of their time.

Anonymous said...

It seems even the agencies are starting to understand that their time is short. I can see future legislation that would limit the total Executive agency staff employed in DC to no more than say 4 times the Legislative staff serving elected officials, with everyone else by default based in state level field offices. This level of effort limit might just bring sanity back as most of the back-end functions could be handled by basic automated systems and fillable PDF forms.

Steve said...

When the Feds show up for a rat killing and can’t even find a rat turd…..

Anonymous said...

Waiting on the NAACP to issue an apology for the false allegations.

Anonymous said...

"Water" paranoia is part of the opposition playbook, and has been for many years after huge payouts to their biggest donor group, ambulance chasers, at Flint.

Poorly educated jurors/voters consistently vote for big payouts on "unsafe" water when they can't even reason that their water IS tested regularly. That is, the baked in safeguards trigger them when even a screening level of lead in a decades old stand of water in a pipe in an abandoned house is something a normal IQ person would expect.

So, the organizations involved deliberately cast false allegations, line up "plaintiffs," and throw every bit of misinformation imaginable at "the community" in order to keep "the community" in fear and themselves in luxury.

Vote rigging/fear mongering.

Anonymous said...

I was there during the majority of the time Jackson is complaining about not getting funding.

It should have, and could have been a much simpler resolution. MDEQ could have simply sent the program's Intended Use Plan and Priority List for each year in question to the complainants and the EPA. Oh wait, they don't even need to send it to the EPA, since that's already done every year as a part of the public notice and approval process. And it was already publicized and available to anyone, every year.

MDEQ should be filing a racism complaint against Jackson and the NAACP.

That Plan shows in great detail how projects are ranked for funding. The ranking criteria have zero consideration for race in any direction. Projects are ranked primarily based on environmental factors. For instance, a project to repair raw sewage leaks or overflows into a drinking water source will receive much higher priority than will a project to provide sewer for a new high-end commercial development which hasn't yet been built. It matters not a whit the color of the folks involved in either project.

Then MDEQ could have simply added the listing of the projects actually funded from each year's Priority List. If the funded projects matched the list, that's all there is to know.

However it is important to know, PARTICULARLY IN JACKSON'S CASE, that no matter how highly a project ranks on the list, that applicant must perform certain actions by certain deadlines in order to remain on the list for funding that year. In cases where JACKSON did not submit project plans, blueprints, legal certifications & documents, applications for funding, etc. etc., the program will kick them off the list and they lose their priority that year, regardless of race. However, such a project could still be funded as a "catch-up" with no priority if funds remain available, or could compete without repercussions in any following year and be ranked among other projects for the following year.

JACKSON'S complaint is that someone didn't throw a bunch of money at them for things JACKSON didn't bother to apply for because JACKSON is lazy and incompetent. But being lazy and incompetent is prohibited in that discussion so they played the race card instead, which is in itself lazy and incompetent and RACIST.

MDEQ should be filing a racism complaint against Jackson and the NAACP. But of course they are instead busy doing their jobs.

Just a normal dude said...

My one complaint about the letter is that it never explicitly states the EPA and MDEQ (or MSDH?) jointly sued the City of Jackson for Clean Water Act violations. The plaintiffs and defendants are never specified in this letter. It makes it seem like DOJ, at the urging of the EPA, sued both the state and the city which is not what happened. Originally, due to Jackson's long history of non-compliance of maintaining the drinking water plants and numerous sewage releases into the Pearl River, the state went to the EPA for help on how best to get Jackson to comply with federal and state regulations. As the regulators of the Clean Water Act, the US and Mississippi jointly sued Jackson for non-compliance, and had to sue them again when the situation deteriorated further after a decade of nothing being done by Jackson.

Anonymous said...

If only the grifting NAACP had include 'DEI' in their complaint...

Anonymous said...

Glad the MDEQ didn't back down and agree to "informally resolve" the allegations or whatever the EPA was trying to convince them to do before! Seems like the EPA realized quickly that these allegations were baseless and spent the next 587 days digging for anything they could possibly find to fit their narrative. Talk about a waste of taxpayer resources thanks to misinformation stemming from certain Jackson City leaders...

If the MDEQ had agreed to let the EPA hide behind an NDA or informal resolution like they wanted there's no telling what the NAACP, Chokwe and Rukia would be claiming right now. Thankfully it's crickets instead!

Anonymous said...

They must not of looked at all the racist comments made by ignorant ass white boys on this little hate/gossip and checked if any were made by tater and his niknar minions.

Anonymous said...

Look for this to be the lead story tonight on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN and NPR.

Anonymous said...

Reading some of these comments, I can't help but wonder how many people get paid for scrolling and trolling.

The EPA complaint was clearly just Derrick Johnson and his brother/former-mayor Harvey Johnson providing cover for the current-mayor Lumumba narrative.

It's all about Lumumba and his people getting their hands on that $600 million federal money, which was allocated after Harvey Johnson and Lumumba destroyed Jackson's water/waste water system.

Wow said...


You can try all you want to label this as a hate/gossip blog and play the race card, but the truth always wins out.

Plenty of people of color also come to this site because it is one of the few sources of facts and primary sources in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

@10:19 - Although few and far between, there are still a few agency heads in the state who have the balls to call a spade a spade without shivering and quivering over potential racial fallout or concerns about which politician might have worded something differently.

Anonymous said...

City should be fined, along with NAACP, Derrick Johnson, MS Today. Just like COJ failed to report all the failure to the agencies and public When the mayor Broke the law. MDEQ laws are regulations are Very specific when it comes to public health!

Anonymous said...

12:52: Yet here you are, supporting "hate" and bitching about "ignorant ass white boys."

Anonymous said...

Has Chokwe ever won a legal case?

Anonymous said...

Call me naive, but I believe the vast majority of Jackson residents are sick of our clown car mayor and inner circle and would vote him out if a non-clown runs against him.

Anonymous said...

When everyone gets done cleaning Jackson water - can they come to Canton?

Anonymous said...

7:57 - Canton's Bear Creek Water has nary a bear turd in its supply stream.

Anonymous said...

KF @ 10:23 ---- I'll take that bet. Donna ain't about to let that story hit her 'non-partisan' rag. Doesn't fit the narrative, don't give a damn about who Alex is; ain't happening.

Anonymous said...

12:27 - all true, true, and true. You were evidently there.

But you leave off the complaint of the entitled folks at Jackson believe should apply to them --- and only them, not any of the other minority cities/towns, some 100% or damn near that number, or anybody else in reality.

Jackson thinks they should have been given interest free 'loans'. And that they should have been entitled to a much larger 'write-off' balance than other cities/towns.

Actually, what Jackson expected under Harvey was a grant, they would not accept a loan -- because they wanted what existed two decades before before the EPA under President Bill CLinton (oh, lets forget about him, he was a good liberal democrat until four decades of being under Democratic run, the House flipped based on his proposed policies) changed the program from a grant deal run out of DC to the current program. "

So Harvey, who knew nothing about governing other than a grants, would not agree to the new program rules that changed the deal from being given cash with no accountability to a very very small interest loan, would accept the new government program.

Therefore allowing Derrick, and his grifting "OneVoice" operation that can funnel and clean dollars, to bitch while pocketing other peoples cash.

Anonymous said...

Thank you- Chris Wells (and by default, thank you Governor Reeves for putting a competent, capable, and an agency director who is willing to do their job properly, not step back and hide) for doing your job and doing it properly and honestly.

Yes, this crap from Derrick Johnson and his NAACP organization, along with his One Voice money laundering group, needed to be answered and addressed. There was NO basis for this claim - the only thing Derrick hoped for was a back-down by MDEQ whereby they could get paid fancy fees and Chockwe could get a feather in his cap while entering Wingate's courtroom

But no - Wells did the right thing and called a spade a spade. He didn't let them get by with their spouting "jackson is black, we deserve everything, anything and all things" while saying that Tater was racist.

And in reality, this had nothing to do with Tater. Yes, he was smart to appoint Wells to run this important agency and he chose someone competent and capable (truthfully, what he has done in many other areas but is generally not recognized because folks like to focus on his personal traits rather than his administration of government) but it has to do with the abilities of DEQ Administrator Wells and his having the balls to call bullshit on the EPA with their even accepting Derrick Johnson's claim, their claim to be unable to open a zip file, or an attachment, or whatever all their inept claims covered, and finally having to admit that there was no there-there.

Too much said. Let me bring it down to simplicity.

Thank you Chris Wells for standing up for what was right - right for the State of Mississippi, for the taxpayers of the state, and of course, for the employees of the MS Dept of Environmental Quality for having done their jobs appropriately, properly, and without a racist bone in their bodies.

Anonymous said...

The citizens should be calling on the OIG to complete its investigation into the financial management of federal funds at the City of Jackson now that the racism claim has been denied. They started their investigation at the same time as the water crisis and have not issued a report yet.

Anonymous said...

Since the EPA has Jackson on its mind, what about the raw sewage dumped into the Pearl River?

Anonymous said...

10:42. Canton city water is not Bear Creek Water.

And I’ll tell you from looking in my tub and commode- Don’t drink anything in Canton if not out of a bottle.

It’s common leadership. They all want everyone to drink brown water so that the leadership can steal grant money.

Anonymous said...

The EPA does not respond to any emails to their portal.

They have gone to happy hour and collecting a check.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


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).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

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.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

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.

Note: Security provided by INS