Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists

1st Edition

By Robert Lee Aston

CRC Press

352 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2002-02-14
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Today’s engineering and geoscience student needs to know more than how to design a new or remedial project or facility. Questions of law and ambiguities of terms often occur in contracts for mining, landfills, site reclamation, waste depositories, clean up sites, land leases, operating agreements, joint ventures, and other projects. Work place situations arise where environmental compliance methods are challenged by enforcement agencies. Although the statutes, rules, and regulations may seem to be worded clearly and specifically, there are often questions in application and sometimes varied interpretations.

Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists introduces simplified American jurisprudence focusing on the legal system, its courts, terms, phrases, administrative law, and regulation by the agencies that administer environmental law. The book comprehensively covers the “big five” environmental statutes: NEPA, CAA, CWA, CERCLA, and RCRA. With the basic law chapter as a foundation, the book covers the practical applications of environmental law for geo-engineers. It concludes with a chapter on the growing area of expert witnessing and admissible evidence in environmental litigation — an area of law where success or failure increasingly depends on the exacting preparation and presentation of expert scientific evidence.

Written by a professional mining and geological engineer and a practicing attorney, Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists prepares students for the numerous environmental regulatory encounters they can expect when dealing with various statutes, laws, regulations, and agency rules that govern, affect, and apply to environmental engineering projects. It provides a working knowledge of how to judge whether or not a project is in compliance with regulations, and how to ensure that it is.


"Robert Lee Aston's eight university degrees, earned over the course of more than 50 years, have given him an incredibly broad and deep  background in both engineering and the law. His curriculum vitae is relevant because Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists can benefit not only engineering and science students in need of some legal background, but also lawyers entering environmental law practice. … With detailed explanations, background, and analysis, along with an abundance of citations of actual cases, Environmental Law for Engineers and Geoscientists covers as much as one could hope for in a single text on such a huge topic…"

Civil Engineering, September 2002


"Being an engineer whose major contact with the law has been as an expert witness … I very much would have liked to have the opportunity of taking a course of this title, specially if taught by the author"

—G. F. Bennett, Journal of Hazardous Material, Vol. 93, July 2002

Table of Contents


List of Cases

List of Commonly Used Abbreviations and Acronyms

Introduction to Environmental Law

Need for a National Environmental Protection Policy

Basic Law for Engineers and Geoscientists

General Orientation to American Jurisprudence

Divisions of Law

General Requirements for Filing a Civil Court Action


National Environmental Policy Act

National Environmental Policy Act — An Environmental Protection Beginning

Early Testing of NEPA by Trial

Air Pollution and the Clean Air Act

Need for Air Pollution Control

Clean Air Act — 1970

CAA Amendments— 1990

CAA Legislative and Litigation Updates — 1990-2001

Water Pollution and the Clean Water Act

Introduction — Historical Comment on Water Pollution

Brief Review of Man’s Water Pollution vs. Nature’s Treatment Process

Early Remedies at Law for Water Pollution

Polluted Waters — Health Hazard — Wastewater Treatment

Evolution of Water Pollution Regulation

Sources of Water Pollution

Effluent Discharge Control Under the Clean Water Act

CWA Legislative and Litigation Updates — 1990-2000

Other Important and Miscellaneous Environmental Statutes in a “Nutshell”

Toxic Substances Control

Updates on Litigation of Solid Waste Disposal — 1999-2000

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act — 1976, and as Amended —1984, 1986

Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act — 1980, (Superfund); Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) — 1986

Water Pollution by Abandoned Mine Sites; Acid Mine Drainage; Mined Land Reclamation


Statutory Treatment of Water Pollution by Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)

Examples of AMD Source Point Abandoned Hardrock Mine and Mill Sites Litigated under CERCLA, SARA, and CWA

Example of a Non-CERCLA AMD Common Law Damage Claim Suit

Geoscientific and Engineering Expert Witnessing and Admissible Scientific Evidence


A Brief History of Scientific “Expert Witnessing” in the Unites States

“Daubert” Period — 1993 to Date (1999)

Partial Clarification of Daubert in the 1997 Joiner Case

Kumho Tire Co., Ltd, v. Carmichael — 1999 — Further Refinement of Daubert’s Requirements for Expert Opinions

Examples of Exclusion and Admissibility of Expert Opinions in Environmental Cost Recovery Suit Challenges

An Expert Geoscientific Witness Case — An Example of Inadmissible Geological Expert Testimony


A Few Pointers for Being a Successful Geoscientific Expert Witness in Court

False Statements

An Example Case Employing Numerous Expert Witnesses

Update on Recent Expert Witnessing Cases

Appendix A: Iron Mountain Mine Site, Further Detailed Description

Appendix B: A very Simplified Environmental Guide for Starting a Mining Operation, or for a Takeover of a Mining Operation, or For a Takeover of a Mining Operation


Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geology