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
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
liz "This article has some helpful talking points about how applying licenses alone won't guarantee a thriving / collaborative project, and points out h..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "That's really interesting. Someone at LEAFFEST -- a lawyer or maybe law student? friend of Molly's -- mentioned the "historical" status of photogra..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
liz "Related to the use of photography as evidence, i'm passing on a great / relevant article pointed out to me by @nshapiro called "Proof Reading: Trac..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "What about, as @tonyc explored, we photo a GPS unit when we start it up? What if we use a "proof of existence" app like CameraV to video the start ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@david-days @stoft,@warren, Point 4 correction: 4) Plab's "progress toward community pollution analysis"; -profile view: audit of data by self-per..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@david-days @stoft,@warren, I agree that sometimes, "peer" review can be a bit like, trying to sprint through a pool of molasses, although this is ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stoft "At the risk of missing his points, it sounds like @david-days is suggesting PLab might be described by (no particular order or emphasis) 1) enviro..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
david-days "I'm going to jump again in as a contrarian, but with a purpose (hopefully it will help). My intent is to step lightly, but I may step on everyone'..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stoft "I'd agree with @gretchengehrke that building awareness of what information data contains, and what information it does not contain, is of primary i..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
gretchengehrke "Hi folks, I totally agree with @stoft that it is essential to understand the limitations of any data before trying to present them as evidence (my ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "I will no longer be posting my research here at Plab, now or in the future, my reasons are simple, I work very hard at what I do and what I am tryi..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@warren, @stoft, no, your point was not missed, a ruler measurement of notation such as 2.034685 would be irrelevant, since 4685 would be quite dif..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stoft "@warren, et. al. Seems my point was missed; this is not a trivial point and it isn't just a matter of scientific notation where measurements are co..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@warren, @stoft, @david-days, Hmmm...seems like there are instances where 2.0 is appropriate; "Typically, scientific notation is used for this pur..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
stoft "@warren, @david-days is right; and in a number of different ways. Yes, the "integrity" of the data is an accurate reference; both legal and scienti..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@david-days, Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it, and I look forward to you next response! Dave H " | Read more » over 5 years ago
david-days "@dhaffnersr, I would be happy to help in any way I can. I will try to post something on your recent work this weekend if I can. In the meantime,..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "@ david-days, Hello, this is dhaffnersr, thank you for such a detailed and informative post. I am really interested to know what are some of your s..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
david-days "IANAL (I am not a lawyer), so if you get near a court proceeding, listen to the attorney who is handling the case, but... In one of my previous li..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
dhaffnersr "Hey jeff, I was thinking form looking at the picture were you are soaking up the oil slick from the water's surface, did you know that using super ..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
warren "True -- and we're hoping to talk to a few people about best practices and protocols around processing as well! I just posted a followup, too: htt..." | Read more » over 5 years ago
ananyo2012 "Sorry for the inconvenience. Just testind a bug in this question. " | Read more » over 5 years ago
ananyo2012 "Sorry for the inconvenience. Just testind a bug in this question. " | Read more » over 5 years ago