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Environmental and Natural Resources Law: Primary Materials

United States environmental law research involves federal and state statutes, administrative materials, cases and non-law materials. This research guide focuses primarily on federal environmental research.

Guide Outline


  • Getting Started
  • Administrative Materials
  • Lexis & Westlaw

Treatises & Looseleaf Services

Journals & Article Indexes

  • Current Awareness Services
  • General Information
  • Relevant law Journals

Primary Materials

  • Federal Laws
  • Proposed & Pending Legislation
  • Proposed Rules & Regulations

Legislative History & Case Law

  • Federal Case Law

Federal Laws

A comprehensive list of federal environmental laws is available from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Acronym Law Statutory Cite Regulatory Cite Purpose
CAA Clean Air Act 42 USC §7401 et. seq. 40 C.F.R. 49-97; 122-4; 144-5; 270-1 Regulates air emissions
CWA Clean Water Act 33 USC §1251 et. seq. 40 C.F.R. 300-12 Regulates discharge of possultion in water
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act of 1960 42 USC §4321 et. seq. 40 C.F.R. 6; 1500-08; 7 C.F.R. 520; 10 C.F.R. 1020 Creates federal framework for protecting the environment. Includes mandate that federal agencies create environmental impact standards
ESA Endangered Species Act 16 USC §1531 et. seq. 50 C.F.R. 17.1 et. seq.  


The United States Code Annotated and the Code of Federal Regulations are available in print in the Law Library behind the reference desk. Additional copies are available online through WestLaw, Lexis and the Government Publishing Office:

Proposed & Pending Legislation

The Congressional Record is the official record of the United States Congress. Published daily while Congress is in session, this is a record of all floor actions/debate.

For information on committee actions relating to environmental issues go directly to the committee websites:

Proposed Rules & Regulations

Proposed rules, regulations, permits and other federal agency actions are subject to public notice requirements. Agency action to promulgate rules and regulations are published daily in the Federal Register. 

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