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Environmental Law: Statutes & Practice Guides

A guide to researching Environmental Law for law students, bar examinees, and other library patrons

What2Use

Definitions

Environmental Crime — A statutory offense involving harm to the environment, such as a violation of the criminal provisions in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (commonly called the Clean Water Act), or the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Environmental Effect — A natural or artificial disturbance of the physical, chemical, or biological components that make up the environment.

Environmental-Impact Statement — A document that the National Environmental Policy Act requires a federal agency to produce for a major project or legislative proposal so that better decisions can be made about the positive and negative environmental effects of an undertaking.

Environmental Protection Agency — An independent federal agency in the executive branch responsible for setting pollution-control standards in the areas of air, water, solid waste, pesticides, radiation, and toxic materials; enforcing laws enacted to protect the environment; and coordinating the antipollution efforts of state and local governments.

Record of Decision —  A public document describing a federal agency's decision regarding an environmental problem, identifying the remedies considered and which one is best, stating whether practical means to minimize or prevent environmental harms caused by the chosen remedy have been adopted, and summarizing a plan for monitoring and enforcing any measures required to mitigate environmental harm.

Major Action — An undertaking that may have a significant impact on the environment, triggering the need for an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act and some state laws.

Superlien —A government's lien that is imposed on a property whose condition violates environmental and public-health and public-safety rules and that has priority over all other liens, so that the government can recover public funds spent on cleanup operations.

Right-to-Know Act — A federal or state statute requiring businesses (such as chemical manufacturers) that produce hazardous substances to disclose information about the substances both to the community where they are produced or stored and to employees who handle them.

Statutes

Practice Guides

Websites

EPA Laws & Regulations: This is the main website for the EPA. It has information on laws and regulations that the EPA has been tasked to oversee.

Environmental Law Institute: ELI is an independent, non-partisan environmental education and policy research center focused on advancing environmental protection by improving law, policy, and management.

The Environmental Law Reporter: The ELR an online research tool edited by attorneys that provides the most-often cited analysis of environmental, sustainability, natural resources, energy, toxic tort, and land use law and policy. ELR’s resources include a monthly journal, News & Analysis,