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Environmental Legal Research Guide: Overview

Guide to federal environmental legal research, including the CAA, CWA, ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Major Environmental Laws

These lists of major U.S. environmental laws are not meant to be exhaustive but rather illustrative of the breadth and depth of environmental laws that have been passed over the years.  One list is arranged chronologically, and the other is arranged alphabetically.  U.S. Code, Public Law Numbers and Statutes at Large citations are included for each piece of legislation. 

Dot Earth

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The term "Environmental Law" has been defined as the practice of law which "deal[s] with the maintenance and protection of the environment."  Black's Law Dictionary 614 (9th ed. 2009). Because our conceptualization of our environment is so broad, the study of environmental law is infinitely complex reflecting an "immense and growing amount of statutory, administrative, and judicial material that affects nearly every aspect of present day governmental and business activity."  John E. Bonine & Thomas O. McGarity, The Law of Environmental Protection viii (2d ed. 1992). This research guide is designed to assist both the novice and the experienced legal practitioner in locating resources related to federal environmental and administrative law.  For ease of use this guide is organized by statute and unless otherwise indicated, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is generally the executive agency that is responsible for administering the statutory and regulatory provisions of the various Acts. 


NY Times Global Warming & Climate Change

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Contact Information

This research guide is currently maintained by Gail Whittemore and Cynthia Pittson.