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Estimating Administrative and Procedural Costs for Natural Resource Restoration Settlements

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Response and damage assessment costs incurred by natural resource trustee agencies (i.e., the federal, state, Indian tribe, and/or foreign officials authorized to act on behalf of the public interest concerning natural resources) are recoverable elements of natural resource damage claims under the Oil Pollution Act and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund Act). Once a natural resource damage claim is settled, trustee costs for implementing and/or overseeing restoration and compensatory actions are charged against the settlement, except as may be specifically defined in settlement provisions. Consequently, trustee agencies must accurately anticipate their postsettlement costs and/or include provisions for covering these costs in settlement terms. Failure to address such cost elements as trustee management oversight, administrative, and procedural requirements along with the provisions for project design, construction, and performance monitoring in settlements may force trustee agencies to absorb these costs. The range of postsettlement cost factors that should be considered in developing settlement terms for natural resource damages are identified and discussed. A framework for outlining trustee postsettlement planning assumptions and estimating the most common management oversight, administrative, and procedural cost elements is provided.
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Keywords: CERCLA DAMAGE SETTLEMENTS NATURAL RESOURCES OPA RESTORATION TRUSTEE COSTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 1999

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