EPA probes Mississippi state government for discrimination in Jackson water crisis – National & International News – FRI 21Oct2022


EPA probes Mississippi state government for discrimination in Jackson water crisis. Doctors warn parents to be on the look out for severe respiratory illness in children. Zelenskyy: Russia plans to blast major dam in Ukraine.



EPA probes Mississippi state government for discrimination in Jackson water crisis

Following a complaint from the the NAACP, the Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will be investigating whether Mississippi’s state government discriminated against the majority-black city of Jackson when allocating federal funds for water infrastructure projects. Specifically, the EPA will probe the actions of the Mississippi’s Department of Health and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. A statement from the EPA says it will investigate whether MDOH and MDEQ “discriminated against the majority black population of the City of Jackson on the basis of race in the funding of water infrastructure and treatment programs and activities in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”.

The NAACP complaint alleges civil rights violations were committed. The complaint cited a “decades-long pattern and practice of discriminating against the city of Jackson when it comes to providing federal funds to improve local water systems”.

Earlier this week, House committee chairs Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves seeking a breakdown of what communities were allocated federal funds for water infrastructure by the state government. The letter sought specifics on racial demographics and the population sizes of each recipient city. The chairs also wanted an explanation for why Jackson faced an “additional layer of scrutiny” to no other municipality was subject to.

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Doctors warn parents to be on the look out for severe respiratory illness in children

Pediatricians are warning parents of young children to be on the look out for symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV cases have overwhelmed hospitals in 33 states, with cases having doubled in 25 states in the last month. For the moment, Mississippi is not among the states reporting an increase in cases, but neighboring states are.

RSV symptoms are similar to the common cold but come with advanced respiratory distress. Doctors say to watch out for heavily flaring nostrils and skin tightening to the ribs as children breathe.

Hospitals typically see RSV cases rise in December to February, but the wave has started earlier this year. Right now, RSV cases are outpacing all other respiratory complaints in children, including COVID and the flu. Doctors are urging parents to get their children’s flu vaccines as soon as possible to head off trips to crowded emergency rooms.

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Zelenskyy fears Russia plans to blow up a major hydroelectric dam in Ukraine

Ukrainian forces are preparing an offensive in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson. Russian authorities have already ordered an evacuation of its personnel along with 50,000-60,000 civilians. Ukraine has condemned the civilian evacuation as a mass forced deportation of its citizens.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of another looming danger in the province. Zelenskyy said the Russians had mined a major hydrolectric dam and wired it to explode. The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam on the Dnieper River supplies power and water to much of Ukraine’s south. If the dam is destroyed, it would immediately flood about 80 settlements, including Kherson. It could also leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant without the water necessary to cool its reactors.

Both Russian and Ukrainian media have reported that the dam’s destruction would also stop water supply to a canal that provides Russian-occupied Crimea with 85% of its water. Russian media have claimed that it is in fact Ukraine that is planning to blow the dam. A Russian official in Kherson claims Ukraine has already fired missiles at it.

Commentators have pointed out that Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine would suffer most if the dam is destroyed, although many Ukrainian-controlled territories would be catastrophically affected as well.

If the Russians are targeting the dam, it is an act of desperation. Zelenskyy said that if the Russians blow the dam, it is an admission by Putin that he will lose control not only of Kherson but all of southern Ukraine, including Crimea.

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