ENVR 4302 (Dr. Rogers): Environmental Law

This guide will acquaint you with materials in the Cornette Library and on the World Wide Web that will make research for your assignment easier. More detailed information about legal resources is available online from Zimmerman's Research Guide.

U.S. Legislation

Federal Law

Stat.: United States Statutes at Large
Official source for all public laws, private laws, and resolutions passed by Congress.
  • Typically referred to as the Statutes at Large
  • Permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress
  • Can find the original act "as an entity" here
  • Chronological compilation, not arranged by subject
  • Each law is published in order of the date it was enacted into law
  • Each volume has a subject index, a popular name index (since 1991), and a name index
  • Much of the public laws are codified into the U.S. Code by adding, modifying, or deleting some parts of the USC
  • Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed in the U.S. House and Senate and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
  • P.L. 111-357: the 357th public law passed in the 111th Congress (this numbering method used since 1957)
  • Private Laws are not codified into the U.S. Code
  • Available as:
    • Vol. 50 - 62 (1938 - 1948), SuDoc number is S 7.9:
    • Vol. 63 - 97 (1949 - 1983), SuDoc number is GS 4.111:
    • Vol. 98 - 123 (1984 - 2009), SuDoc number is AE 2.111:
    • Gov Docs - U.S. Microfiche (Federal Register cabinet)
    • SuDoc number: AE 2.111:
    • Vol. 1 - 61 (1789 - 1948)
      Online from the Library of Congress:
    • Vol. 1 - 18 (1789 - 1875) are online
    • Available through the American Memory project
      Online from FDsys:
    • Vol. 65 - 116 (1951 - 2002)
    • Historic digitized volumes (browse list)
      Online from FDsys:
    • Vol. 117 - 122 (2003 - 2008) are online
    • Recent volumes
USC: United States Code
Y 1.2/5: (Gov Docs - Reference Shelves)
  • Print edition is the only official version of the current laws of the United States
  • Organized ("codified") into 50 broad subjects (called "Titles")
  • Published every 6 years
  • Published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Has annual, cumulative bound supplements
  • The Office of the Law Revision Counsel has a Detailed Guide to the United States Code Content and Features
  • Also online
USCA: United States Code Annotated
KF62 1927 .W45 (Reference Department)
  • Annotated, commercial version of the current laws of the United States
  • More current than the USC
  • Updated promptly with yearly "pocket parts"
  • Usually easier to search a topic in the print version
  • Also online
    • Can browse or search USCA in Westlaw Campus (WTAMU students only)
    • Can browse or search USCS (United States Code Service) in LexisNexis Academic (WTAMU students only)
Popular Names Tables
Y 1.2/5: (Gov Docs - Reference Shelves)
  • Has "Acts by Popular Names." An alphabetical list of short names or nicknames of federal acts.
  • Shelved after Title 50 of the USC, updated in cumulative, bound supplements
  • Lists:
    • Proper name of act
    • Public Law (P.L.) number
    • Date
    • Statutes at Large citation (used to find the original statute "as an entity")
    • (Sometimes) the U.S. Code (USC) citation
    • An act more recent than one year may not be listed
    • Excellent online version from U.S. House of Representatives. Link to PDF file is recommended. Check Currency link to see when last updated.
  • Popular Name Table in USCA
    • Same information as in the USC, but probably more recently updated
    • Kept in the Reference Department, first floor. Call number is KF 62 1927 .W45 Ref.
    • Not online in USCA in database Westlaw Campus
THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  • Free U.S. legislative information
  • Can search full text of legislation from 101st Congress (1989) to date
  • Can search pending bills
    • Bills and resolutions are proposed laws or resolutions as introduced in Congress
    • Acts are bills that have been passed into law


U.S. Rules and Regulations

Why have regulations?

FR: Federal Register
  • Daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders, etc.
  • If adopted, codified into CFR.
  • Draft of regulation allows for comments.
  • After comment period is closed, preamble of reg is published. Has clarifications, agency's position, Congressional intent, etc. that is not printed in CFR.
  • Available as:
    • No print in library
    • Gov Docs - U.S. Microfiche (Federal Register cabinet)
    • SuDoc number: AE 2.106:
    • vol. 1 - vol. 64 (1936-1999)
    • Available through FDsys
    • Can browse 1994 to date
CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
  • Annual publication of current rules and regulations published by Federal executive departments and agencies.
  • Includes Executive Orders
  • Arranged by 50 broad subjects called "Titles." These titles are not the same titles/subjects used by USC (United States Code).
  • AUTHORITY: if there is a section for "Authority," it will show the act, statute, etc. that authorized the regulation
  • Available as:
    • Gov Docs - Reference Shelves, SuDoc number AE 2.106/3:
    • Easier to search print than online version
    • Current edition only.
    • Only one-fourth of the CFR is updated in any quarter of the year (Titles 1-16 in January, Titles 17-27 in April, etc.).
      Online for free:
    • Available through FDsys
    • Can browse 1996 to date
      Online from Congressional:
    • Find "Congressional" database listed on Quicklinks (WTAMU students only)
    • Next, click link to "Regulations"
    • Can search by keyword or citation from 1981 to date
LSA: List of CFR Sections Affected
  • Monthly pamphlet published with the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)
  • Lists proposed, new, and amended Federal regulations that have been published in the Federal Register since the most recent revision date of a CFR title
  • Each LSA issue is cumulative
  • Contains the CFR part and section numbers, a description of its status (e.g., amended, confirmed, revised), and the Federal Register page number where the change(s) may be found.
  • Because of publishing time lag, not immediately current
  • Supplement the updating process with the most recent issue of Federal Register
    • Each FR issue contains a cumulative-for-that-month section called "CFR Parts Affected During (that month)"
    • Browse to see if a change in the regulation is indicated
  • Available as:
    • No current print in library
    • Available through FDsys
    • Browse Monthly LSA for most recent year and issue
EO: Executive Orders
In Title 3 of CFR, The President (historic and current)
AE 2.106/3: (Gov Docs - Reference Shelves)
In Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders (1945-1989)
AE 2.113:1945-89 (Gov Docs - Reference Cart by Service Desk)
Use to find, view, and comment on regulations and other actions for all Federal agencies



Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated/Vernon's Annotated Revised Civil Statutes
KFT 1230.5 V4 (Reference Department)
Texas laws
Texas Register
KFT 1236 S4 (Gov Docs - Texas Docs, near Indexes)
  • Weekly publication that includes proposed rules, etc. for state agencies in Texas
  • If adopted, changes are codified in the TAC (Texas Administrative Code)
  • Available as:
    • 1976 - 1991
    • Gov Docs - Documents/Abstracts shelves, call number KFT 1236 .S4
TAC: Texas Administrative Code
  • The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) is an annual compilation of all state agency rules in Texas.
  • There are 16 titles in the TAC. Each title represents a subject category and related agencies are assigned to the appropriate title.
  • Can browse current edition by drilling down an outline of titles
  • Can search current edition
Texas Legislature Online
  • Useful for pending State of Texas legislation
  • Can search bills from 1989 (71st Legislature) through 2011 (82nd Legislature, 1st Called Session
AG: Texas Attorney General Opinions
  • Written interpretations of existing Texas law
  • Numbered by Attorney General who wrote opinion.
  • Example: John Cornyn, AG from 1999-2002, wrote JC-1 through JC-585
  • Also online
    • From Index of Opinions, there are links to PDFs
    • From Subject Index, there are also links to PDFs


Research Tips

What is a Citation (for Law or Regulation)?

    Parts of Citation
  • First: Volume number OR "Title" Number
  • Second: Name of book, often abbreviated
  • Third: Beginning page number OR "Section" number
    Examples of Citation with Page Number
  • Volume number / Name of Book / Page number:
    • 107 Stat. 112
    • 70 FR 12710
    • 70 FR 12710 is the citation to volume 70 of the Federal Register. The item begins on page 12710.
    Examples of Citation with Section number
  • Title number / Name of Book / Section number:
    • 40 CFR 261.31
    • 30 TAC 335
    • 42 USC 9601
    • 42 USC 9601 is the citation to Title 42 of the U.S. Code. The item begins with section 9601.

How to Search in FDsys

Federal Digital System (FDsys) is from the Government Printing Office. FDsys provides free online access to official federal government publications and securely controls digital content to ensure content integrity and authenticity. You may also browse an A-Z list of resources on FDsys.

Government Information on the Web


Citing Your Sources

No matter the style manual that you are using, legal citations require special citation rules.

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
KF 245 .B58 Ref (Reference Dept.)
Most style manuals will give some examples of legal citations, then refer the user to this publication.
Texas Rules of Form
Z UA345.5 T312RUF 2003 (Government Docs - Texas Docs Shelves)
For citations unique to Texas legal resources.


Your Comments

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