Natural Resource Law

What is Natural Resources Law?

Natural Resources are described in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 C.F.R.). The C.F.R. defines natural resources as encompassing land, fish, wildlife, plants, air, water, 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.


The United States has a long history of protecting natural resources, thanks, in large part, to the conservationist efforts of President Theodore Roosevelt. Natural Resource laws protect such areas as national parks and beaches, endangered species, and rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Natural resource laws are to thank for the preservation of such national treasures as Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Niagara Falls.

Environmental Laws

Natural resource laws also prohibit activities that would damage the natural environment. Examples include laws pertaining to drilling for petroleum, mining operations, damming rivers, and preventing or allowing certain forest fires.

For more information about natural resource laws, see the links below. Additionally, if you need the assistance of an environmental attorney to help you with a natural resources case, you may find one using our Law Firms page.


Articles on Related to Natural Resources Law

  • If You See Your Company Polluting, Who Do You Call?
    It is a sad fact, but every day thousands of companies around the world violate laws designed to protect the environment in order to cut costs and increase profits. If you suspect your company is doing so, or if you have witnessed the pollution yourself, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent it and whether there are any laws in place to protect you from the company's wrath after you do so.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's Focus on Compliance Results
    Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been bringing fewer criminal prosecutions against U.S. corporations, and their officers, for their failure to comply with environmental laws and regulations, the penalties imposed in these cases have become more severe.
  • Environmental Claims Law
    Environmental claims law is highly specialized and if a person is seeking to build a case and potentially seek damages for issues, a qualified and experienced attorney in the field of environmental claims law is a must.
  • Dust Up Between Surfers and Kholsa Could Spell the End of Private Beach Access in California
    Should a property owner have to get a coastal development permit before he can close the gate to his private property? The Surfrider Foundation thinks so, and if it wins its current lawsuit against Vinod Khosla that could soon be the law of the land in California.
  • Georgia Water Law
    Water rights in Georgia vary according to the amount of water withdrawn from the water source, whether it is a surface water source (river, stream, reservoir) or a groundwater source (aquifer).
  • How Arbitrary and Nasty the Power of Eminent Domain Can Be
    Seizure of the Barries' Colorado dream cabin shows how arbitrary and nasty the power of eminent domain can be.
  • The Coastal Commissionís support for AB 976 Shows Due Process Apathy
    Every monthly meeting the California Coastal Commission releases a list of bills in the current legislative session that it is supporting. It can be a time consuming effort to review all these bills, but sometimes you find a gem that sheds light on the nature of the Commissionís long-term goals, and the read becomes worth it. Last week, the Commissionís monthly report was well worth the read.
  • The California Coastal Commission Reviews Fracking Along the California Coast
    Whether the California Coastal Commission Eventually Regulates Fracking On the Outer Continental Shelf Will Have More to Do with Federalism than Science
  • What Are the Laws Regarding Animal Testing?
    In the United States, a number of products like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and detergents are first tested on animals to determine what their effects are likely to be on humans. This has raised a number legal and ethical concerns among consumers. So, what are the laws regarding animal testing?
  • Which is Safer: Tap or Bottled Water?
    Each year, millions of Americans consume billions of gallons of water. The boom in the bottled water industry was fueled, in part, by beliefs that bottled water was cleaner and more heavily regulated than tap water. But then a backlash by others in the media showed that much bottle water was simply tap water in a bottle. So, is one form of water more heavily regulated and safer than the other?
  • All Environmental and Natural Resources Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Environmental and Natural Resources including: agricultural law, animal law, energy, environmental law, equine law, forestry and fisheries, natural resources, oil and gas.

Department of the Environment, Conservation and Natural Resources by State

Natural Resources Law - US

  • ABA - Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

    The Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources is the premier forum for lawyers working in areas related to environmental law, natural resources law, and energy law. The Section is committed to providing members with opportunities to enhance professional skills, stay on top of current developments, and dialogue in these substantive areas.

  • Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Pennsylvania

    DCNR has a total of eight bureaus and the office of Wild Resource Conservation Program. The deputy secretary for conservation and engineering services oversees the bureaus of Topographic & Geologic Survey, Recreation & Conservation and Facility Design & Construction; and the deputy secretary for administration oversees the bureaus of Human Resources, Administrative Services and Information Technology.

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program (ENRLP)

    Environmental and natural resources law is one of the most rapidly changing fields in the legal profession. Thirty years ago, there was very little formal environmental regulation in this area. But today, there are myriad state, federal, and international laws seeking to curb environmental pollution and protect resources.

  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA)

    NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to the stewardship of living marine resources through science-based conservation and management, and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.

  • National Soil Survey Center (NRCS)

    NRCS's natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters.

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

    Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources.

  • Natural Resources Law - Overview

    atural 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.

  • Protection of the Environment - Title 40 CFR

    Title 40 is the section of the CFR that deals with our mission of protecting human health and the environment. The links below will direct you to the e-CFR. The e-CFR is not an official edition of the CFR, which is printed annually by the Government Printing Office (GPO). However, GPO updates the e-CFR daily, making it a more current if unofficial version.

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from the "cradle-to-grave." This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous solid wastes. The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from underground tanks storing petroleum and other hazardous substances.

  • Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

    The responsibilities and goals of the Senate Agriculture Committee are as diverse as the needs of American agriculture. The policies developed by this committee will support efforts to move our country forward, help rural communities grow and succeed and help boost the rural economy to preserve opportunities for the next generation for states like Iowa.

  • Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

    Since its creation, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and its predecessors have considered, reported, and overseen some of the most important legislation ever enacted by the United States Congress. This far-reaching legislative activity can be described in the following major areas: energy resources and development, including regulation, conservation, strategic petroleum reserves and appliance standards; nuclear energy; Indian affairs; public lands and their renewable resources; surface mining, Federal coal, oil, and gas, other mineral leasing; territories and insular possessions; and water resources.

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency Laws & Regulations

    EPA leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Natural Resources Law - Europe

  • Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy - UK

    The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee is the internationally renowned graduate school in the field of international business transactions and natural resources and energy law and policy. Our interdisciplinary approach to teaching, research and consultancy provides a unique perspective on how governments, business and communities operate, providing the professionals of today with the ability to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

  • European Environment Agency

    The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. Our task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. We are a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. Currently, the EEA has 32 member countries.

  • European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development

    The Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy was adopted by the European Council in June 2006. It is an overarching strategy for all EU policies which sets out how we can meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The Sustainable Development Strategy deals in an integrated way with economic, environmental and social issues and lists the following seven key challenges: * Climate change and clean energy * Sustainable transport * Sustainable consumption and production * Conservation and management of natural resources * Public health * Social inclusion, demography and migration * Global poverty.

  • Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

    On 21st December 2005 the European Commission proposed a Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources used in Europe. The objective of the strategy is to reduce the environmental impacts associated with resource use and to do so in a growing economy. Focusing on the environmental impacts of resource use will be a decisive factor in helping the EU achieve sustainable development.

Natural Resources Law - International

  • Center for Global Environmental and Natural Resource Law

    In a rapidly globalizing world, Canadians can no longer contemplate environmental and natural resource law without considering many global influences. No industry in Canada can operate in isolation from world affairs, nor can regulation be considered without taking into account global environmental and economic influences. Few environmental and natural resource problems remain unaffected by a world that has become economically integrated and in which human activity has the capacity to affect the sustainability of the global environment.

  • Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts - Australia

    The Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts develops and implements national policy, programs and legislation to protect and conserve Australia's environment and heritage and to promote Australian arts and culture.

  • Environment and Natural Resources Law

    The Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies (Safeguard Policies), as a subset of the operational policies of the Bank, are vital to the Bankís efforts to promote poverty reduction and sustainable development. As such, the Safeguard Policies require that potentially adverse environmental impacts and selected social impacts of Bank investment projects should be identified, minimized, and mitigated.

  • IBA - Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law

    Welcome to the Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) online. Here you will find information, updates, news and other resources relevant to your section. The role of SEERIL is to coordinate the activities of the following committees: * Environment, Health and Safety Law * International Construction Projects * Mining Law * Oil and Gas Law * Power Law * Water Law.

  • International Wildlife Law Project

    The purpose of the International Wildlife Law Project of ABILA's International Environmental Law Committee is to contribute to the objective of conserving endangered wildlife species by helping to strengthen international wildlife treaty regimes, regional accords and national legislation that implements international treaty regimes. The group's efforts focus on scholarship and public education efforts.

  • Kyoto Protocol

    The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

  • Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP)

    The main objectives of the MAP are to assist the Mediterranean countries to assess and control marine pollution, to formulate their national environment policies, to improve the ability of governments to identify better options for alternative patterns of development, and to optimize the choices for allocation of resources.

  • Natural Resources - Canada

    Natural Resources Canada champions innovation and expertise in earth sciences, forestry, energy and minerals and metals to ensure the responsible and sustainable development of our nation's natural resources.

  • Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) - Canada

    The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) is an agency of the Government of Alberta and reports to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. Established in 1991, the NRCB has mandates under two Acts - the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act and the Agricultural Operation Practices Act.

  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

    NRDC works on a broad range of issues as we pursue our mission to safeguard the Earth; its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

    To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Organizations Related to Natural Resources Law

  • Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association

    The Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association is a statewide group of school teachers, naturalists, state and federal agency staff, and others who help young and old alike learn about and appreciate Alaskaís natural resources.

  • Eco-Pro Environmental Education on the Web

    Eco-Pro's mission consists of: Providing information about: - Environmental education - Earth's natural environment - Ecosystems - Natural resources - Special qualities and needs of all living organisms - Sustainability - Current conditions and issues - The importance of preserving biodiversity and the balance in nature.

  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR)

    Welcome to the web site of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR). IASNR is an interdisciplinary professional association open to individuals who bring a variety of social science and natural science backgrounds to bear on research pertaining to the environment and natural resource issues. Our official journal, Society and Natural Resources, publishes research articles and policy analyses pertaining to a broad range of topics addressing the relationships between social and biophysical systems. Our official meetings, the International Symposia on Society and Resource Management, are held annually.

  • International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

    IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being.

  • Natural Resources Assessments Surveys (NRAS)

    NRAS Conservation assists with -resource assessment -monitoring -conservation planning -training, and -capacity building to support developing countries to sustainably manage their marine natural resources.

  • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

    TERI was formally established in 1974 with the purpose of tackling and dealing with the immense and acute problems that mankind is likely to be faced with in the years ahead on account of the gradual depletion of the earthís finite energy resources which are largely non-renewable and on account of the existing methods of their use which are polluting.

  • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

    NRDC is an effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.2 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

    Mission: To consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency

    EPA leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a key partner in implementing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, along with States, Tribes, other Federal agencies, conservation organizations, and industry. The Service is a natural collaborator with NFHAP because habitat protection and restoration are central elements of the Serviceís mission. Through Fish Habitat Partnerships (FHPs), organized around important aquatic habitat and species, Service employees provide NFHAP with leadership and technical expertise, from local restoration projects to regional FHP development and national administration.

  • United States Forest Service

    The Forest Service was established in 1905 and is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres.

Publications Related to Natural Resources Law

  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

    IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies

  • Law - Energy and Natural Resources Law Journals

    Genamics JournalSeek is the largest completely categorized database of freely available journal information available on the internet. The database presently contains 95147 titles. Journal information includes the description (aims and scope), journal abbreviation, journal homepage link, subject category and ISSN. Searching this information allows the rapid identification of potential journals to publish your research in, as well as allow you to find new journals of interest to your field.

  • Natural Resources Law and Policy - SSRN

    Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences. In this case Natural Resources Research.

  • The Dark Side of Natural Resources - Global Policy Forum

    Natural resources often lie at the heart of wars and civil strife. Huge mining and resource companies do not hesitate to use force in pursuit of their corporate interests.

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Journal

    The Natural Resources Forum, a quarterly journal launched in 1976, is issued by the Division for Sustainable Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

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