Law and Policy
question: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 tagged with `question:law-and-policy` will appear here [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](https://publiclab.org/profile/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](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/12-20-2016/citizen-science-investigations-aka-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#PART+ONE:+How+it+Should+Work) + [common legal obstacles](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/01-25-2017/part-2-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#Step+One:+Identifying+the+Problem) Step 2. Gathering the evidence: [how it should work](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/12-20-2016/citizen-science-investigations-aka-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#Step+2:+Gathering+the+Evidence) + [common legal obstacles](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/01-25-2017/part-2-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#Step+Two:+Gathering+the+Evidence) Step 3. Turning evidence into action: [how it should work](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/12-20-2016/citizen-science-investigations-aka-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#Step+3:+Turning+Evidence+into+Action) + [common legal obstacles](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/01-25-2017/part-2-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data#Step+Three:+Turning+Evidence+Into+Action) 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 ](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/12-20-2016/citizen-science-investigations-aka-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data) [Part 2: Why it doesn’t always work ](https://publiclab.org/notes/lenagd/01-25-2017/part-2-common-legal-issues-when-using-community-sourced-data) ## 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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/topics) 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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/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](https://publiclab.org/wiki/air-quality#Regulations,+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 ](https://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/eli-pubs/d12-02.pdf) + [Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard University: The Citizen Science Manual, Supplement 2—Using Citizen Science Data in Litigation](https://citizenscienceguide.com/supplement-2-using-citizen-science-data-litigation) + [The Impact of Citizen Environmental Science in the United States by George Wyeth et al 2019](https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3344638) ...


Author Comment Last activity Moderation
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 » over 7 years ago
warren "Just to clarify, #NPDES is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System " | Read more » over 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 years ago
necisuperiorenzymes "This whitepaper explains how methods become Clean Water Act methods for wastewater analysis under the US EPA. " | Read more » over 7 years ago
necisuperiorenzymes "The NELAC Institute has a lot of information on regulatory methods for environmental monitoring. http://lams.nelac-institute.org/test_methods NEC..." | Read more » over 7 years ago
DavidMack "@liz see "Guidelines for FRM and FEM Applicants 9-2011 (PDF)" on https://www3.epa.gov/ttn/amtic/criteria.html " | Read more » over 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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 » almost 8 years ago
ananyo2012 "Sorry for the inconvenience. Just testind a bug in this question. " | Read more » almost 8 years ago
ananyo2012 "Sorry for the inconvenience. Just testind a bug in this question. " | Read more » almost 8 years ago
nshapiro "Super helpful! Thank you! This aspect is actually software, and yes I've read and am advocating for the Cern Licence over here :) Thank you Liz! " | Read more » almost 8 years ago
liz "In a nutshell, permissive open source licenses mean someone can take what's been committed to the commons and build a closed branch off of it. This..." | Read more » almost 8 years ago
nshapiro "This is great! Thanks! I did think there was a difference but I wasn't sure what it was. thanks for pinpointing it and then situating it in longer ..." | Read more » almost 8 years ago
warren "The MIT license is a permissive open source license, and is not copyleft -- meaning that, unlike the GPL or CC-BY-SA (sharealike), derivative works..." | Read more » almost 8 years ago
nshapiro "Thanks, Chris! This is very very helpful. I might add some of this information to the licenses wiki to clarify just how these processes work. Than..." | Read more » almost 8 years ago
cfastie "Nick, I think it's a little misleading to say that a Creative Commons license does not claim to be a copyright. Typically, when you produce a new c..." | Read more » almost 8 years ago