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Environmental Research Skills: SKL-031417: Environmental Legal System

Environmental law can be referred to as "belt-and-suspenders" - it is comprised of a large number of laws and regulations that often overlap and cover a wide range of areas. For this reason, it is also referred to as its own system.

Over the past four decades, "Environmental Law" has evolved into a legal system of statutes, regulations, guidelines, requirements, policies, and case-specific judicial and administrative interpretations that address a wide-ranging set of environmental issues and concerns. 

Environmental Law Handbook (Thomas F. P. Sullivan ed., 23d ed. 2017).

There may be state and local environmental requirements in addition to federal laws. Federal law preempts state and local environmental law, but there can still be specific requirements of state agencies, and/or state agencies may carry out functions on behalf of a federal agency. It can cover different subjects in addition to traditional law, such as public safety, health, and science. It can include environmental protection and compliance, wetlands, pollution, toxic torts, air, water, public lands, etc. Add all of this to the complexity of understanding administrative law, practice, and procedure, and environmental law can be one of the most complicated subjects you will ever study.

The resources in this guide are designed to be a brief overview of the many different resources that are important in the study and practice of environmental law. It does not claim to be comprehensive but instead is designed to serve as a starting point. The laws listed on this page are available on Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Fastcase for members of the Loyola community. Any additional links below are to other free/useful online or print sources.  

Some Relevant Laws and Regulations - Federal

Listed here are a few of the major laws and their corresponding regulations in this subject. The statute link is to its codification in the United States Code (U.S.C.). The Parallel Table of Authorities lists rulemaking authority for provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by listing U.S.C. provisions next to corresponding CFR provisions. This is intended to show the wide range of legal materials in environmental law, not to be a comprehensive list. 

These citations are read as:

  • 42 U.S.C. 7401: Title 42, United States Code, section 7401
  • The CFR is cited in the same way - 40 CFR 8.8: Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, section 8.8

Some Relevant Laws and Regulations - Louisiana

Listed here are a few of the major state laws and their corresponding regulations in this subject. All statutes are cited to the Revised Statutes published in the Louisiana Statutes Annotated (LSA), available on Westlaw and in print. (This is the official, annotated laws published by West. LA statutes can also be found on the Louisiana Legislature's website, but it does not have comments or any annotations.) LA statutes may also be cited as LA RS for the Louisiana Revised Statutes. All regulations in the Louisiana Administrative Code can be found online through the Division of Administration. Note that the current collection of regulations is called "Louisiana Regulations" on Westlaw, rather than Administrative Code. This is intended to show the wide range of legal materials in environmental law, not to be a comprehensive list. 

  • ‚ÄčLouisiana Air Control Law - LSA 30:2051; LA Air Quality Regulations - La. Admin. Code 33:III.101 et seq
  • Louisiana Water Control Law - LSA 30:2071 et seq.; LA Water Quality Regulations - La. Admin. Code 33:IX.101 et seq.
  • Louisiana Hazardous Waste Control Law - LSA 30:2171 et seq.; LA Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials - La. Admin. Code 33:V.101 et seq.
  • Louisiana Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Law - LSA 30:2151 et seq.; LA Solid Waste - La. Admin. Code 33:VII.101 et seq.
  • Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Act a.k.a. State and Local Coastal Resources Management Act - LSA 49:214.21 et seq.
  • Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act - LSA 56:1840; La. Admin. Code 76:IX.
  • Louisiana Threatened and Endangered Species Conservation Act - LSA 56:1901 et seq.

These citations are read as:

  • LSA 30:2051 - Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated Title 30, section 2051.
  • LA Admin. Code 33:IX.101 - Louisiana Administrative Code Title 33, Part 9, section 101.

Some Relevant Agencies - Federal

Listed here are federal agencies involved in environmental law issues. This is intended primarily to show the wide range of government involvement, not to be a comprehensive list.

Note that two offices within the Executive Office of the President are also involved - Council on Environmental Quality (established in NEPA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Both of these offices' webpages on the White House website have disappeared since the beginning of the new administration, and they are not the only ones to no longer exist. At the time of writing, it is unknown the reason for this and whether these webpages will be restored. The Obama White House page is archived online by the National Archives, and the webpages for these offices can be viewed there. Update: The webpage for the Office of Science and Technology policy is live as of March 13, 2017.

Some Relevant Agencies - Louisiana

Listed here are state agencies involved in environmental law issues. This is intended primarily to show the wide range of government involvement, not to be a comprehensive list.

Agency jurisdictions over environmental issues

Stanley A. Millan et al., Louisiana Environment Compliance sec. 1:2 (2016-2017 ed. 2016) (available on Westlaw and in print).

Government Structure - Dealing with environmental issues