Law and Policy

How do laws, regulations, policies, and community science affect each other? Community-collected data has the power to prompt local, state, or federal action by alerting government agencies to an issue. Failures and gaps at the regulatory level are often what leads communities to do their own environmental monitoring and advocacy work. At the same time, laws will affect how community scientists can collect their data for maximum potential impact. On this page you'll currently find information on: Questions on law and policy Activities related to law and policy Community-sourced data and common legal issues Regulations within Topic areas Further reading and resources Some subjects that you might see included here in the future: + How can community-sourced data be used to impact or enforce regulations at the local, tribal, state, or federal level? + What can community members do to improve their chances of having impact through legal channels? + How do laws and agencies enable or impair the ability of communities to collect and contribute data? This page is a place to collect and organize resources on law and policy, and their relationships with community-led science. Visit the [law-and-policy tag page](/tag/law-and-policy) to see the latest community posts about law and policy on Public Lab, and get updates on this topic by following: Follow law-and-policy _**What other resources related to law and policy would be helpful to collect here?** Please [edit this wiki](/wiki/edit/law-and-policy)!_ ## Questions on law and policy + See if other community members are asking questions like yours + Ask a question so other community members can offer support + Sign up below to be notified when someone asks a question about law and policy [questions:law-and-policy] ## Activities related to law and policy Activities on Public Lab that have been tagged with `law-and-policy` will appear here [activities:law-and-policy] ## Community-sourced data and legal issues Each of us has our own way of thinking about and doing community science. The posts linked below describe an approach to community science from the perspective of [@lenagd](, an attorney with extensive experience in environmental law. Within the posts you’ll find: **A three-step approach to using community-sourced data in the legal system:** Step 1. Identifying the problem: [how it should work]( + [common legal obstacles]( Step 2. Gathering the evidence: [how it should work]( + [common legal obstacles]( Step 3. Turning evidence into action: [how it should work]( + [common legal obstacles]( You can find the full posts on “Citizen Science Investigations: aka 'Common Legal Issues when using Community Sourced Data'” here: [Part 1: How it should work ]( [Part 2: Why it doesn’t always work ]( ## Evidence The posts below include discussions and information on how community-collected data can become evidence in a legal case. [notes:grid:series:evidence-project] ## Regulations within topic areas on Public Lab Much of the resources and activity on the Public Lab website are organized by [Topic]( areas--for example, air quality, water quality, and land use. On each Topic’s wiki page (see an example linked below), we’re hoping to include background on what laws and regulations exist and where gaps are, plus examples and stories of how community science can interact with the regulatory world. These sections could cover: **1. Regulations related to the Topic** + Federal level regulations (e.g., set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US) + How to find other regulations that may exist at your state level + What’s currently hot in the regulatory world **2. Examples and stories of what community-collected data can do with regulations in this Topic area** + Stimulate government investigation + Be used directly by agencies in their assessment + Be used in lawsuits We hope that the stories will demonstrate the power of local community knowledge and expertise and inspire others who are seeking to address an environmental concern. If you have ideas, examples, or stories to share, please [edit this wiki](/wiki/edit/law-and-policy) or consider [posting a research note](/post?tags=law-and-policy)! Share a research note #### Indoor air quality [Regulations on indoor air quality]( check out this example of what Topic pages could include on federal and state regulations and policies. #### Air quality (outdoor) [Regulations and policy on ambient air quality](,+policy,+and+advocacy) #### Microplastics [Regulations and policy on microplastics ](/wiki/microplastics#Regulations,+policy,+and+advocacy) ## Further reading and resources + [A Citizen’s Guide to Using Federal Environmental Laws to Secure Environmental Justice ]( + [Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard University: The Citizen Science Manual, Supplement 2—Using Citizen Science Data in Litigation]( + [The Impact of Citizen Environmental Science in the United States by George Wyeth et al 2019]( ...

Author Comment Last activity Moderation
hagitkeysar "Some more examples on initiatives can be found here: " | Read more » over 4 years ago
hagitkeysar "Hi Nick I just came across this great network and resource, maybe you already know of it? They created a model which they term as "Community Resear..." | Read more » over 4 years ago
jjcreedon "I would like to ask for co ownership, id that too much of an ask, do you think? considering we are well into the project aloo- we not only want acc..." | Read more » over 4 years ago
jjcreedon "okay, really good info. Ill find out today (meeting at 3pm) " | Read more » over 4 years ago
gretchengehrke "Hi Nick, I can put you in touch with folks Lisa Rasmussen who put together a Citizen Science Ethics conference where co-ownership and equitable par..." | Read more » over 4 years ago
gretchengehrke "Hi Jackie, you should be able to have the IRB amended. Are the researchers willing to file an amendment with their IRB? " | Read more » over 4 years ago
jjcreedon "I'm in a situation where the university wont share data with our community group because we are not covered by the University's IRB policy. We want..." | Read more » over 4 years ago
nshapiro "Thank you, super helpful! do you have any examples of what that co-ownership language might look like? " | Read more » over 4 years ago
kanarinka "A good model that I just heard about is to build this language of co-ownership into your IRB. This then functions as a document that you can refer ..." | Read more » over 4 years ago
warren "Just wanted to link up this old post with the great followup summary here: " | Read more » over 4 years ago
pdhixenbaugh "Some other things -- certain types of industries can ask for an exemption from this permit if they claim they have zero stormwater pollution exposu..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
pdhixenbaugh "The general permits also come in different variants, and the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit is a big one. For example, my muni..." | Read more » about 5 years ago
warren "Just to clarify, #NPDES is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System " | Read more » over 5 years ago
stevie "Yes! You can read about NPDES permit exemptions on this page "There are highly consequential exemptions listed in Section 402(l) of the Clean Wate..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stevie "You can read about this on the NPDES wiki here. "There are two kinds of permits issued under NPDES: individual and general. Individual permits are..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stevie "RE:: @DavidMack posting your resource as an answer to the question. Thanks for sharing:: see "Guidelines for FRM and FEM Applicants 9-2011 (PDF)" ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
necisuperiorenzymes "This whitepaper explains how methods become Clean Water Act methods for wastewater analysis under the US EPA. " | Read more » over 5 years ago
necisuperiorenzymes "The NELAC Institute has a lot of information on regulatory methods for environmental monitoring. NEC..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
DavidMack "@liz see "Guidelines for FRM and FEM Applicants 9-2011 (PDF)" on " | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "I also wanted to note that folks may be left with a photo series, not a video -- like with the #timelapse trail cameras folks. While we have a ques..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
liz "I would like to have the information that Rachelle Duvall referred to on the OpenHour, about the standards and testing that usually companies have ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
xose "The to be or not to be of the hole question ;) Theres an actual debate around your question and some of the PublicLab people are writing some posts..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
eustatic "DoJ allowed monitoring as a Supplemental Environmental Project (in lieu of fees)? I've heard the opposite. Was it citizen or government, or third..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
nshapiro "so nice to see an expert saying: "hey! what i have expertise in is not as helpful as other approaches" thanks liz! " | Read more » over 5 years ago