Seton Hall Law Review: Disadvantaged Communities, Water Justice & The Promise of The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Center for Water Policy’s Director, Melissa Scanlan, and Water Policy Specialist, Misbah Husain, tackled pressing questions about funding priorities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

The Act prioritizes “disadvantaged communities” when allocating more than $50 billion over five years to finance water infrastructure projects nationwide—the single largest amount ever invested for this purpose. The federal Environmental Protection Agency will disburse most of this to states, tribes, and territories. Thus, the Center’s research probed a key legal question that impacts where the funds are spent: which communities are considered “disadvantaged” and eligible for funding priority? The research contextualizes this discussion through an overview of environmental justice concerns related to water infrastructure, outlines the ways that the Infrastructure Law supports the development of water infrastructure, interprets the term “disadvantaged communities,” and explains how Title VI of the Civil Rights Act may be used by disadvantaged communities to secure additional funding to correct historic neglect of water infrastructure.

Seton Hall Law Review invited Professor Scanlan to present their work at a symposium in 2022 and published their legal and policy research: Misbah Husain & Melissa Scanlan, “Disadvantaged Communities, Water Justice & The Promise of The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” 52 Seton Hall Law Review 1513 (2022).