EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan agreed to appoint a member of his team to see through progress on the community’s flooding and sewage crisis
WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) secured a commitment from Administrator Michael S. Regan that the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will appoint a coordinator to see through progress on the flooding and sewage crisis in Cahokia Heights, Illinois. The EPA took similar action in Flint, Michigan to coordinate interagency response and ensure rapid and responsible disbursement of funding.
During a hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture with Administrator Regan, the Congresswoman shared the story of Walter Byrd who has dealt with years of stormwater and sewage flooding at his home in Cahokia Heights.
“Citizens of Cahokia have dealt with decades of flooding of both stormwater and sewage any time there is heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, this is a two-decade problem that local, state, and the federal government have not been able to solve,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “Today, I’m asking if you and your team would be willing to take on the Cahokia Heights challenge with a more hands-on approach by appointing a coordinator in your office to ensure that infrastructure upgrades can be made as soon as possible.”
“You have my commitment to do that,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
Since 2019, residents, as part of a recent court filing, cite 91 documented instances of sewage coming out of government owned pipes and into their homes. Residents of Cahokia Heights, which is 95% African American, have been forced to suffer years of unsafe living conditions and undrinkable water. Many in the community are retirees who struggle to find money for repairs, and the federal, state and local response has been insufficient to address the health and safety concerns.
An EPA Coordinator can ensure that funds are quickly and responsibly disbursed to the community and that Agency responses across the federal, state and local level are choreographed.
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