Throughout this EJ Green Book, we refer repeatedly to four primary sources of environmental laws:
1. The United States Code (U.S.C.) contains federal statutes or laws enacted by Congress that apply throughout the country. A typical reference to this Code is 42 U.S.C. § 7401, which happens to be the first section of the Clean Air Act. The “42” signifies that the law is in Title 42, the grouping of laws that relates to “Public Health and Welfare” and includes most of the major environmental laws; the “7401” identifies the specific section. Sections can be further divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on, so you might see references like this: 42 U.S.C. § 7604(b)(1)(A).
2. The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) contains regulations created by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, which provide more detail in administering the laws Congress has passed. They are referred to in a similar fashion as federal statutes; thus, a typical regulation is 40 C.F.R. § 51.166(a)(6)(iii).
3. The equivalent of the U.S.C. for Georgia statutes is called the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.). It is structured somewhat differently than the federal laws, and a typical reference might be O.C.G.A. § 12-5-30(a). In this case, “12” refers to Title 12, “Conservation and Natural Resources”; “5” refers to Chapter 5, “Water Resources”; “30” is the specific section (relating to permits for a discharge of pollutants into waters); and “(a)” is the subsection, here setting out the basic requirement for a permit.
4. Like the federal government, Georgia has agencies that develop rules to guide the implementation of the laws. The official citation form for these rules is, for example, Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 391-3-6, but for simplicity’s sake this handbook will refer to them simply as Georgia Rule 391-3-6.
Typing any of these citations into a search engine can usually bring you to the full text of that law.
This resource also sometimes refers to “cases,” or decisions in lawsuits that tell people what the law is. A typical case citation is Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp., 482 F. Supp. 673 (S.D. Texas 1979):
The names identify the parties involved in the suit;
“482 F. Supp. 673” tells where the case was first published, in this case page 673 of volume 482 of the Federal Supplement (although cases are most often accessed through online sources);
“S.D. Texas” identifies the court making the decision—here, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, a federal court in Houston, Texas; and
1979 is the year the case was decided.
You will also see the citation Id. used in the EJ Green Book. This means that the citation is the same as the one immediately before it.
Wherever possible, we have provided direct links to internet sources, and Appendix A includes additional internet resources that may be helpful.