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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).

According to Black's Law Dictionary, environmental law "deal[s] with the maintenance and protection of the environment, including preventive measures such as the requirements of preparing environmental impact statements, as well as measures to assign liability and provide cleanup for incidents that harm the environment" (10th Ed. 2014). Environmental law intersects with Administrative law since most of the rules are promulgated by agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to name a few. The EPA is responsible for the majority of environmental regulation.

This guide is comprehensive, but not exhaustive. It is intended to aid both novice and experienced researchers in the area of environmental law; however, it should only be used as a good starting point and not as an exhaustive list of the material that is available on the subject. This particular guide includes links to other more specific guides that cover some of the major federal statutes in environmental law. There are also links to some specific topic guides that may be of interest to environmental law researchers.

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. 

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Deborah L. Heller
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
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