natural resources

Primary tabs

Natural resources, as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 C.F.R.), encompass land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by the United States, any State or local government, or any foreign government. Natural resources law governs the efficient use of these natural resources to protect health, safety, environment, energy, and general wellbeing. 

See environmental law for specific information regarding a particular natural resource. The relevant sections of the United States Code are: Title 16 dealing with Conservation; Title 30 dealing with prospecting; Title 40 dealing with public property; Title 42 dealing with public health (and how natural resources relate to public health); and Title 43 dealing with public lands.

See energy law for specific information about laws and regulations governing the conversion of natural resources into energy, and various issues that arise during this process.

Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statutes

  • U.S. Code
    • 16 U.S.C. Conservation
    • 30 U.S.C. Prospecting
    • 40 U.S.C. Public Property
    • 42 U.S.C. Public Health
    • 43 U.S.C. Public Lands
  • CRS Annotated Constitution

Federal Regulations

  • Title 40 C.F.R.

State Material

State Statutes

  • State Statutes Concerning Natural Resources
  • State Statutes Concerning Fish & Game

Additional Resources

  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Federal Agencies
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Department of Energy (DOE)
    • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • U.S. Forest Service (FS)
    • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Congressional Committees
    • House Committee on Natural Resources
    • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee
    • Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee
    • Senate Environment & Public Works Committee
  • State Agencies
    • Health and Environmental Agencies of U.S. States and Territories
  • Journals
    • Natural Resources Conservation Service News
    • University of Kentucky Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law 
    • Law Review Commons - Natural Resources Law
  • Organizations
    • Natural Resources Law Center
    • Natural Resources Defense Council
    • Nature Conservancy

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]