Residents of Jackson, Miss. have filed a class action lawsuit over their lack of access to clean water.
According to Axios, the lawsuit was filed against the city, current and former mayors, city officials, and engineering companies. The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights were violated by government leaders, and that the residents were poisoned by the water, even before the most recent crisis in August. The federal class action lawsuit read: “This public health crisis, decades in the making, was wholly foreseeable by Defendants’ actions and has left Jackson residents in an untenable position — without access to clean, safe water in 2022 in a major United States city."
Jackson resident, Raine Becker, said in a statement: “We’re suffering because of the lack of leadership and planning by government officials and others. Access to clean water is a basic human right, and government officials must be held accountable for their misconduct.”
It took longer than 40 days before Gov. Tate Reeves finally announced on Sept. 16, the end of the boil-water advisory for Jackson residents. Jackson, a city of 431,000 people – 82.5 percent of whom are Black – has struggled with basic access to water for more than a generation. The recent flooding of the Pearl River resulted in more than 150,000 people without safe drinking water.
While President Joe Biden signed a historic Infrastructure Bill last month to assist areas like Jackson, Republican state lawmakers, like many red states with predominantly Black cities, decide where Mississippi’s funds will ultimately go, too often leaving Black areas ignored. Last week, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, met with Jackson officials about the water crisis. Long-term goals were discussed; however, an official plan has not been released.