The United States, among the wealthiest and most prosperous nations in the world, regularly fails to provide clean, potable water to many of its citizens. Recent water crises occur within communities categorized as Geographically Disadvantaged Spaces (“GDS”), which often encompass urban and rural areas. What is more, people of color and economically vulnerable populations are often located within GDS, disproportionately burdening these groups with the economic and public health consequences of failing water infrastructure. This Article provides a novel, comparative analysis of communities lacking potable water in Flint, Michigan, and southern West Virginia. This analysis highlights entrenched structural problems present in rural and urban contexts, as implicating compound socioeconomic and race-related inequalities that transcend such seeming geographic divides. Lastly, this Article advocates for infrastructure development policies that address the underlying structural issues plaguing GDS—both rural and urban—and examines whether the Green New Deal could serve as an effective solution.
2021 ULR 501 (2021)