Atlantic States Legal Foundation Records, 1966-2009
- Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc.
- The Atlantic States Legal Foundation Records document the environmental not-for-profit organization’s pollution reduction and environmental remediation projects and cases throughout the United States and territories.
- 179.74 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Atlantic States Legal Foundation 1966-2009 (APAP-311). M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Atlantic States Legal Foundation Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of select folders in Series 1, Subseries 1 which are marked below.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The collection contains materials relating to the projects and cases pursued by ASLF, ASLF's collection of published environmental reports and newsletters, and subject files. ASLF activities encompassed almost every U.S. state and a few U.S. territories. The projects and cases are arranged by geographic regions, state, and finally alphabetically by the company or organization. The publications are arranged alphabetically, with separation between serial publications, New York publications, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) publications, and other publications.
The collection contains materials from the 1960s to 2000s. However the bulk of the projects were pursued in the 1980s and 1990s, items which pre- or post-date this range are often research material, DMRs or compliance reports required by consent decrees.
The collection consists of correspondence, compliance reports, discharge monitoring reports (DMR), court documents, architectural drawings, laboratory analyses, notes, news clippings, National Discharge Elimination Permit System (NPDES) permits, photographs, quarterly non-compliance reports (QNCR), remediation programs, standing, subject files, workshops and environmental newsletters, studies and research reports.
- Biographical / Historical:
Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc. (ASLF) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1982, with headquarters in Syracuse, New York. Since its earliest years, Samuel Sage has worked with ASLF, actively promoting numerous environmental projects and serving as president. ASLF’s mission is to provide affordable technical, legal and organizational services to a variety of individuals, community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments and others to protect and remediate threats to the natural and human environment.
In the 1980s and 1990s ASLF used the legal frame work of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, known as the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to ensure industrial pollution was in compliance with permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CWA is a federal law passed in 1976, which set water pollution standards to levels safe for human recreation. The EPCRA, passed in 1986, enabled private citizens and NGOs to request federal and state agencies documents such as, Material Safety Data Sheets, Toxic Release Inventories, SARA Title III Reports, Discharge Permits and Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR) for individual companies. Often, the copying fees for these reports were waived for ASLF because it is a not-for-profit organization. ASLF used these reports to identify pollution discharge violations throughout the United States and U.S. Territories. After violations were identified, a sixty day notice of the intent to sue would be sent to the permit violating company. Often agreement settlements were negotiated before reaching court. The cases that did reach the courts were citizen suits and ASLF, as an organization, often needed an individual, affiliated with ASLF, in the affected area who could demonstrate harm. These individuals could provide standing for the case and were often members of ASLF or of a community group working with ASLF.
On November 28, 1990 ASLF was the first ever to settle an EPCRA citizen suit. ASLF became the leading NGO utilizing the citizen suit provision of the Clean Water Act to enforce disclosure and compliance with pollution permits. ASLF worked with local individuals and community groups, such as the Sierra Club and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, to discover and bring legal claim against polluters. In addition to working with local groups, ASLF often worked through local attorneys in distant states, to manage the handling of a case.
In 1998 the effectiveness of citizen suits was curtailed due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision. However, ASLF's efforts forced many industries and companies to be accountable to their local communities.
- Acquisition information:
The Atlantic States Legal Foundation donated its records in 2009-2010 to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2013 by Kathleen Broeder with Jamie Brinkman, Jodi Boyle, Katherine Demetri, Thao Nguyen, Tiffany Williams.
- Social Activists and Public Advocates
Conservation and the Environment
Environmental law--United States—Cases
Pollution--Law and Legislation--United States
Water Pollution--Law and Legislation--United States
Citizen suits (Civil procedure) -- United States
Architectural drawings (visual works)
Civil court records
Files by subject
- United States. Environmental Protection Agency
New York (State). Department of Environmental Conservation
Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Inc.
United States. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986
United States. Federal Water Pollution Control Act