Together Louisiana Takes Local Water Fight to the Capitol

When the Mayor of St. Joseph held up at least $250,000 in state funds available for local water system repairs, Together Louisiana leaders took their fight to the state Capitol, bottles of brown water in hand. In testimony to the House Natural Resources and Environmental Quality Committee, Pastor Samuel Johnson of Guilefield Baptist told legislators that parishioners are losing their hair and suffering from skin irritation. Others detailed that the mayor countered calls for water system repairs with the assertion that residents "can drink bottled water."

Though the state has allocated $7 Million for clean water, local mayors have the power to block such initiatives. The committee chair, impacted by Together Louisiana testimony, talked of issuing a subpoena if the Mayor does not respond to calls to appear before the committee. Governor Bel Edwards has committed to work with Together Louisiana leaders to resolve this issue. Leaders are calling for the appointment of an administrator that would use the $250,000 emergency fund to replace the most egregious pipe, passage of HB83 to recognize secondary water quality standards of the EPA, and increased prioritization of the $7 Million state fund appropriation so that the town's pipes and filtration system can be replaced, and release of those funds once an administrator has been appointed.

The committee will vote on the bill soon.

St. Joseph Residents Make Their Water Case at Capitol, USA Today

St. Joseph Group to Take Fight For Clean Water to Capitol Rotunda, KNOE