Environmental Law


Environmental law refers to a variety of protections which share the goal of protecting the environment.  

Federal Law

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed in 1970 along with the Environmental Quality Improvement Act and the National Environmental Education Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was also formed in 1970. The main objective of these laws was to protect the environment against public and private harms. The goal of the EPA is to monitor and analyze the environment, conduct research, and work closely with state and local governments to create pollution control policies. 

Major Federal Laws

Endangered Species Act (ESA): This Act protects endangered species in order to prevent their extinction. 

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):  This Act governs the disposal of solid and hazardous waste.

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA): Also known as the “Superfund,” this Act is aimed at cleaning up areas which are already polluted. This statute assigns broad liability to parties associated with the improper disposal of hazardous waste. The statute also provides funding for cleaning up the impacted areas.

Clean Air Act (CAA): The CAA is designed to protect air quality by regulating stationary and mobile sources of pollution.

Clean Water Act (CWA): The CWA protects water by preventing discharge of pollutants into navigable waters from point sources.

State Law

State laws reflect similar concerns which allow adversely affected property owners to seek a judicial remedy for environmental harms.  Although laws on the state level vary from state to state, many of them mirror the federal laws.

Further Reading

For more on environmental law, see this Virginia Law Review article, this Florida State University Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law article, and this University of Florida Law Review article


menu of sources

Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statutes

Code of Federal Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

State Material

State Statutes and Regulations

State Judicial Decisions

International Material

Conventions and Treaties

Other References

Key Internet Sources

Useful Offnet (or Subscription - $) Sources

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Category: Property & Natural Resources