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Environmental Law: Note Quick Start Guide

Environmental Law deals with  natural resource management by all levels of government: international, federal, state, and local.   Environmental Law is generally thought about  from one of four analytical frameworks: environmental rights, sustainable development, utilitarianism and cost-benefit analysis, and environmental justice.

For an Overview

Environmental Law and Policy, by Salzman & Thompson, 3rd ed., 2010   KF 3775 .S26

Foundations of Environmental Law and Policy, by Revesz, 1997 KF 3775.A7

Finding a Note Topic / Keeping Current

Environmental Law Seminar Spring 2013 - Professor Adler’s topic ideas

Current Awareness Publications:

Environmental Blogs:

Environmental Agencies’ websites:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Note:  other federal agencies deal with natural resource management, for example the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is the main agency involved with the Endangered Species Act.
  • State Agencies - Links to

Research Note: Need help developing an idea or starting your research, consider requesting a PeRC (Personal Research Consultation) with one of the reference librarians.  The online form is located here.

The Next Step:  Starting your research

If you have a case:

  • Start by pulling up the case in Westlaw or LexisNexis
  • Look for links to briefs and other court documents
  • Look for the references cited in the case, such as other cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, etc.
  • Shepardize or keycite the case to find:
    • Subsequent history
    • Law Review articles
    • Secondary Sources
    • Cases that have cited your case

If you have a statute:

  • Start by pulling up the statue in Westlaw or LexisNexis (annotated if available)
  • Look at the Table of Contents – remember sections of a code do not usually stand alone
  • Check for sections entitled “Definitions” at the beginning of all chapters, parts, subparts, etc. your section is under
  • Look at the other sections to see how they work together
  • Look at the annotations for cases, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, etc.
    • The Notes on Decisions – is a list of cases that have cited the statute, note they are often organized by topic
  • Shepardize or keycite the statute to find:
    • Law Review articles
    • Secondary Sources
    • Cases that have cited your statute

If you have a regulation:

  • Start by pulling up the regulation in Westlaw or LexisNexis.
  • Look at the Table of Contents – remember sections of a code do not usually stand alone.
    • Check for sections entitled “Definitions” at the beginning of all chapters, parts, subparts, etc. your section is under
    • Look at the other sections to see how they work together
  • If using Westlaw look at RegualtionsPlus to find:
    • Cases that have cited your regulation
    • Secondary Sources
  • Shepardize or keycite the regulation to find:
    • Law Review articles
    • Secondary Sources
    • Cases that have cited your regulatoin

If you have a law review article / legal current awareness article:

  • Start by finding the article – if you are not sure where, ask at the Reference Desk
  • Look for references to any cases, statutes, regulations, or other cited material
  • Shepardize or Keycite is also available for many law review articles
  • Note:  You can also look for citing articles by using the title of the article as your search in a journal database

If you start with a newspaper story / blog:

  • Start by finding any cases, statutes, regulations mentioned.
    • If citation information is not given – don not spend more than 15 minuets looking, after 15 minuets ask for help at the Reference Desk

If you have an idea:

  • Start with a legal treatise, such as:
    • Environmental Law by Rodgers, by Rogers, 2d ed. 1994 (Law Reserve KF 3775 .R59 1994) (hornbook) Westlaw
    • Treatise on Environmental Law, by Grad, 1973 LexisNexis: TOELAW.

Research Note:  Only general environmental secondary sources have been listed.  To find out if there is a environmental issue specific secondary source contact reference at 216-369-5206 or caselawref@case.edu

For some other guidance with Environmental Legal Research:

  • Armstrong & Knott, Where the Law Is: An Introduction to Advanced Legal Research (3d ed., 2009) KF 240 .A76
  • Kuntz et. al., The Process of Legal Research (7th ed, 2008) KF 240.P76
  • Georgetown Law Library’s Environmental Law Research Guide page
  • Vermont Law School Library’s Environmental Law Research Source page

If you are interested in using environmental data:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Agency’s website data finder page
    • Agency’s data on Data.gov page
  • Department of the Interior
    • Agency’s data is linked to topics, for example Bald Eagle Population Size page
    • Agency’s data on Data.gov page

For some guidance on writing your note:

Other information that may be of interest:

Environmental Law Student Writing Competitions

  • Endangered Environmental Laws page
  • Environmental Law Essay Contest page
  • Smith Babcock Williams Writing Competition page

For more information see the Student Writing Competitions on the Student Home page here (logon required)

Some recent faculty articles

  • LaCroix, Catherine J., Urban Green Uses: The New Renewal (May 12, 2011). Planning and Environmental Law, Vol. 65, No. 5, p. 3, May 2011; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-10. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1839800
  • Adler, Jonathan H., Heat Expands All Things: The Proliferation of Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Obama Administration (March 11, 2011). Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Forthcoming ; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-4. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1783664
  • Adler, Jonathan H., Eyes on a Climate Prize: Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization (May 3, 2010). Harvard Environmental Law Review, Forthcoming; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1576699

Best Environmental Law Review articles of the year 

  •  Land Use and Environment Law Review K 12 .A535