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Environmental Law Research

A guide to finding, researching, and staying current on environmental law



This guide contains recommended primary and secondary source resources for researching Environmental Law.  The focus is on the United States, but selected international materials are also included.

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Secondary Sources

Using Secondary Sources

Whether you're looking for a general overview of environmental law or an in-depth treatment of a specific law or subject area, there are secondary sources that can help.  Visit the following guide to learn more about secondary sources and how to use them:

Treatises and Other Texts

For a general overview, try Environmental Law in a Nutshell or Understanding Environmental Law.  For treatises on specific legislation, see also the items under the federal legislation section.

Research Databases and Websites

Environmental Law Journals

Although you may find articles about environmental law in any law journal, there are many journals that specialize in this area. For example:

Links are to the Law Journal Library in HeinOnline, which is an excellent source for PDF versions of articles. Search for other publications via the database link below.

Westlaw and Lexis also offer a number of journals.  For interdisciplinary research, look to the Environment Index database.

Federal Legislation & Regulations

Major Federal Legislation

Each drop down box below covers the major federal environmental laws. Links are provided to the text of the law and its major amendments, selected legislative history materials, and some websites and treatises to further your research. 

Note that there may be additional legislation for minor changes to the laws. Check the history sections of the codified version at Lexis or Westlaw for complete history of any given section.


Clean Air Act (CAA)

To improve, strengthen, and accelerate programs for the prevention and abatement of air pollution.

United States Code 

Statutes at Large

Legislative History

CAA Treatises

CAA Websites

Clean Water Act (CWA)

Formally known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

United States Code 

Statutes at Large

Legislative History

CWA Treatises

CWA Websites

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

United States Code 

Statutes at Large

Legislative History

RCRA Texts and Treatises

RCRA Websites

Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)

United States Code 

Statutes at Large

Legislative History

EPCRA Texts and Treatises

EPCRA Websites


National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

United States Code

Statutes at Large

Legislative History

NEPA Texts and Treatises

NEPA Websites

State Legislation

50 State Surveys

State Legislation


Environmental Law Cases

News & Current Awareness


Legal blogs ("blawgs") can be a great way to tap into the conversations scholars, practitioners and interested organizations are having about current issues.  Justia and ABA are two aggregators of blawgs on a range of subjects. Besides environmental law, you might also check out related areas like energy law, animal law, and agricultural law.


EPA Library

EPA Region 1 Library

EPA National Library Network

Many materials published by the Environmental Protection Agency can be found by searching the EPA National Library Catalog or the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). Some materials will be available directly in PDF, while others will be at one of the EPA libraries in print or microfiche. If they are available in one of the latter formats, you can request them through HLS's interlibrary loan form.

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CC License

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.