This is the "Federal Primary Sources" page of the "Environmental Law" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Environmental Law  

Last Updated: Sep 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Federal Primary Sources Print Page

Federal Statutes

Federal statutes in the area of environmental law are numerous.  Listed below are selected federal statutes in the area of Environmental Law:

Clean Air Act (CAA): 42 U.S.C. §7401 et seq.

Clean Water Act (CWA): 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq.

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA/Superfund): 42 U.S.C. §9601 et seq.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): 42 U.S.C. §4321 et seq.

Endangered Species Act (ESA): 16 U.S.C. §1531 et seq.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): 15 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.

Wilderness Act: 16 U.S.C. § 1131 et seq.

For summaries of these statutes and other federal environmental law statutes, see the EPA's Laws and Executive Orders page:


Legislative History

For legislative history on federal Environmental Law statutes, consider searching the library's catalog for compiled legislative histories.  Also available through HeinOnline is the U.S. Federal Legislative History library, which allows access to select compiled histories by Public Law number or popular name. 

For further information on conducting legislative history research, please consult the Law Library's Legislative History Research LibGuide.



In addition to the many statutory provisions, environmental law is also an area with an intensive regulatory framework. 

For final regulations, you may want to consult the following titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):

Title 40:  Protection of Environment

Title 50:  Wildlife and Fisheries

Title 10: Energy

Title 18: Conservation of Power and Water Resources

Title 30: Mineral Resources

Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property

Title 43: Public Lands: Interior

For information on how to access the CFR and conduct research in the CFR in a variety of formats, click here to jump to the Code of Federal Regulations page on the Law Library's Administrative Law LibGuide.

For proposed rules and other notices from federal agencies on the rulemaking process, you will need to consult the Federal Register.  It will be helpful in your research to have an understanding of which agency or agencies may be issuing rules on the topic you are researching.  For a list of federal agencies related to environmental law issues and information on their scope, see the tab on this page titled Agency-Specific Information.

For information on how to access the Federal Register and conduct research in the Federal Register in a variety of formats, click here to jump to the Federal Register page on the Law Library's Administrative Law LibGuide. 

The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

(From the Law Library's Administrative Law LibGuide):

Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602) require that agencies publish semiannual regulatory agendas describing regulatory actions they are developing or have recently completed. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included.

The Unified Agenda (also known as the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda), published twice a year (usually in April and October) in the Federal Register (FR), summarizes the rules and proposed rules that each Federal agency expects to issue during the next year.

The Unified Agenda is compiled by the General Services Administration's Regulatory Information Service Center in cooperation with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget. It is then published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Beginning with the fall 2007 edition of the Unified Agenda, agencies publish in the Federal Register only those Agenda entries for rules which are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. For fall editions, the entire Regulatory Plan, required by Executive Order 12866, is also published in the Federal Register.

An edition of the Unified Agenda containing additional regulatory information that does not appear in the Federal Register version is available online through The version on GPO Access is identical to the version printed in the Federal Register.  Please see for Regulatory Agenda information not published in the Federal Register. 

The Regulatory Information Service Center assigns a Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) to identify each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda.  Use of the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) helps ensure that Federal agencies maintain comprehensive, electronic dockets and provide the public with the ability to track the full life cycle of a regulatory action. The RIN is relevant because it represents a regulatory action as a unique identifier and can be used to search for related information on various regulatory web sites.


Loading  Loading...