Thursday, May 27, 2010

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Program

DOI: The mission of the U.S. Department of the Interior's (Department) Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (Restoration Program) is to restore natural resources injured as a result of oil spills or hazardous substance releases into the environment. In partnership with other affected state, Tribal, and Federal trustee agencies, damage assessments provide the basis for determining the restoration needs that address the public's loss and use of these resources.

EPA: Natural Resource Trustees conduct NRDAs to calculate the monetary cost of restoring injuries to natural resources that result from releases of hazardous substances or discharges of oil. Damages to natural resources are evaluated by identifying the functions or 'services' provided by the resources, determining the baseline level of the services provided by the injured resource(s), and quantifying the reduction in service levels as a result of the contamination. Regulations for assessing NRD have been promulgated under both CERCLA and Oil Pollution Act. If natural resources are injured by a discharge or release of a mixture of oil and hazardous substances, the DOI regulations are used. Section 301(c) of CERCLA requires promulgation of regulations for the assessment of damages for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources resulting from a discharge of oil or release of a hazardous substance. The responsibility for this rulemaking was delegated to the Department of the Interior (DOI) by the President in Executive Order 12580 (January 23, 1987).

NOAA: an oil spill or hazardous substance release, response agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Coast Guard clean up the substance and eliminate or reduce risks to human health and the environment. But these efforts may not fully restore injured natural resources or address their lost uses by the public. Through the NRDA process, Damage Assessment, Remediation & Restoration Program (DARRP) and co-trustees conduct studies to identify the extent of resource injuries, the best methods for restoring those resources, and the type and amount of restoration required.

NOAA conducts the following three steps in an NRDA:

1. Preliminary Assessment
2. Injury Assessment/Restoration Planning
3. Restoration Implementation

Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Reference Deskbook
Environmental Law Institute (ELI)

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