A well-functioning United States electricity system, also known as “the grid,” is fundamentally important to the American way of life. Nearly everyone involved—from users, to electricity generators, to transmitters, to regulators— recognizes this and agrees broadly that the system should be “resilient” to threats such as extreme weather, attack, and infrastructure failure. This idea— of promoting grid resiliency—has been central in many recent conversations surrounding the industry.
This Note seeks to paint a picture of what working toward environmental justice should look like. Focusing on the demands that environmental justice communities voiced through the Principles of Environmental Justice, it posits that three key components are necessary to comprehensively achieve environmental justice: distributive justice, recognitional justice, and procedural justice. Common understandings of environmental justice often miss either one or both of the latter two components.
In the past two decades, the Supreme Court has significantly reduced the deference given to the “Jurisdictional Determinations” made by the Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Previous to the Court’s holding in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Court had continuously upheld the Corps’ interpretation of section 404’s jurisdictional reach.
In 2018, the Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth Circuits addressed whether groundwater with a sufficient hydrological connection to navigable surface water should fall within the scope of the Clean Water Act. In two simultaneously released decisions, the Sixth Circuit held that the Clean Water Act does not apply to hydrologically connected groundwater. Conversely, the Fourth and Ninth Circuits agreed that the Clean Water Act does cover hydrologically connected groundwater.