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December 1996, Column No. 22
Copyright 1996 Robert J. Ambrogi
The Internet Is Rich In Environmental Resources
By Robert J. Ambrogi
If you think you've had some bears for clients, consider lawyer Ben van Drimmelen, whose Web address tells it all: http://barristers4bears.com. Sure enough, visit his site and there's his photo, right on the front page, arms around a particularly grizzly professional acquaintance.
But don't feel bad for van Drimmelen, believing him to have been trapped in the claws of some unfortunate walk-ins. To the contrary, this former forester and biologist is putting his training to good use, concentrating his practice -- and his Web site -- on laws concerning natural resources such as fish, wildlife, forests and water.
Van Drimmelen's is just one of many sites on the World Wide Web devoted to environmental law. Here is a compilation of others.
Focus On The Law
For lawyers, many of the most useful sites are those specifically devoted to environmental law. Some of the best have been created by lawyers who practice in the field.
One such site is the Arent Fox Environmental Website, http://www.arentfox.com/enviro. It stands out for its unique focus: state environmental self-audit privilege and immunity laws. The site offers a state-by-state review of these laws, which protect companies from having to disclose self-audit results and offer immunity to those that do,
A broader approach is taken by the Chicago firm Ross & Hardies in its Environmental Law Web Site, http://www.webcom.com/~staber. The site provides an "at-a-glance" overview of environmental law. It also reviews recent cases, legislation, and actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Other useful law firm sites include:
For a site with a wide-range of resources, try the Environmental Law page of Law Journal EXTRA!, http://www.ljx.com/practice/environment/index.html. It offers current news and columns, law firm memoranda on environmental topics, links to other Internet resources, and more.
Legal advocacy has long been a focus of groups devoted to protecting the environment, as they have taken their battles to the courtroom and the legislature. Several of these groups have established sites on the Internet.
One such group with a resource-rich Web site is the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, http://www.cec.org. A highlight of its site is a detailed outline of North American environmental law, covering Canada, Mexico and the U.S., and providing links to original source materials.
Another comprehensive site is EcoNet, http://www.igc.org/igc/econet/index.html. The site includes environmental news, action alerts and feature articles, as well as extensive links to related resources.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org/index.html, is four sites in one: Worldview, featuring current news and legislative bulletins; The Amicus Journal, with articles from the print magazine; Pro, providing legislative analyses and reports; and Sitings, links to other environmental resources on the Internet.
Other legal advocacy sites worth visiting include:
Keeping current with the latest developments is crucial. Here are three sites that help.
From acid rain to waste water, the indispensable resource for the environmental lawyer is the Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov. This well-designed site is home to the full text of laws and regulations, press releases, newsletters, and other EPA documents. Use the site's "browse" feature to bring up a list of every covered topic and its related resources.
Technically part of the EPA site, Enviro$en$e, http://es.inel.gov, is really a Web site unto itself. It seeks to provide a single repository for information and databases relating to pollution prevention, compliance assurance, and enforcement.
Other government sites for the environmental lawyer include:
Laws And Treaties
For the full text of laws, treaties or other original sources of environmental law, the place to start is the Pace Virtual Environmental Law Library, http://joshua.law.pace.edu/env/vell6.html. It offers an exhaustive collection of links to U.S. and international materials, and supplements each link with a synopsis, a citation, and other information.
Other sites offering laws and treaties include:
U.S. environmental laws, including CERCLA and Clean Air and Clean Water acts, are available through the Legal Information Institute's hypertext U.S. Code, http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode. Major laws found there include:
Only one environmental law review publishes its full text on the Web, the Villanova Environmental Law Journal, http://www.law.vill.edu/vls/journals/elj.
Three others have Web sites containing abstracts or tables of contents:
These sites offer scientific or technical information related to the practice of environmental law:
This site provides an extensive collection of links to environmental resources on the Internet, organized by subject, name or country.
A guide to technical and scientific Internet sites related to the environment.
A World Bank site devoted to assessing the costs of pollution remediation.
This site, operated by the University of Virginia, is best visited for its link to the EcoGopher Environmental Information Server, home to the archives of more than 40 environment-related discussion lists.
Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Mass., is editor of legal.online, a monthly newsletter about the Internet published by Legal Communications Ltd., Philadelphia. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (978) 546-7898.