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Legal Research- Environmental Law: About this guide

Area of Law, Environmental


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Environmental Law Research

Use primary source congressional documents to:

• Understand legislative process

• Compile research for law review articles

• Develop legal arguments based on legislative intent

• Access all bills and publications related to enacted laws

• Access all publications related to legislative proposals

• Link to CIS legislative histories

Environmental Law Overview

The following chart summarizes a few of the more important federal environmental laws. For a more comprehensive list of federal environmental laws, visit the EPA's Web site.

AcronymLawStatutory CitationRegulatory CitationPurpose
CAA Clean Air Act 42 U.S.C. §§ 7401 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 49-97, 122-124, 144-145, 270-271 Regulates air emissions
CERCLA (superfund) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (amended by SARA) 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 300-312 Governs clean-up responsibilities for historic hazardous waste sites
CWA Clean Water Act 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 104-136, 140, 144-145, 230-233, 401-471, 501-503 Regulates discharge of pollutants into the water
EPCRA (SARA Title III) Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act 42 U.S.C. §§ 11001 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 302, 355, 370, 372 Requires disclosure of the storage of hazardous substances, public notification, and procedures for response in the event of a release of hazardous substances.
ESA Endangered Species Act 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 et seq. 50 C.F.R. 17.1 et seq. Regulates and conserves threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
FIFRA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 7 U.S.C. §§ 136 et seq. 29 C.F.R. 1440.1; 40 C.F.R. 32.100 et seq., 152-168, 180.1 Regulates pesticides.
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act of 1960 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 6, 1500-1508; 7 C.F.R. 520; 10 C.F.R. 1021 Establishes a broad national framework for protecting the environment. Imposes environmental responsibilities on all federal agencies and requires agencies to write environmental impact statements.
RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 42 U.S.C. §§ 6901 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 144-148, 260-299 Regulates and controls hazardous waste and manages non-hazardous waste. Amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA) to require phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste.
SARA Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act 42 U.S.C. §§ 9601 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 300-312, 355, 373 Amended CERCLA
TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act 15 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. 40 C.F.R. 700-799 Regulates industrial chemicals produced or imported into the United States