Foreign experience in assessing environmental damage...

Foreign Experience in Assessing Environmental Damage

In foreign practice, the issues of methodological support for the economic evaluation of environmental damage have been developed primarily due to the existence in the legislation of strict standards of responsibility for past and present damage caused by the development of market relations in the sphere of nature management, developed ownership structure. Assessment of damage to natural resources, as a rule, is made on the basis of the costs of their restoration. The following components are considered:

• the costs of restoring natural resources to their original state or their replacement;

• compensation of the disturbed functions of natural resources for the period before their restoration to the original state;

• Costs for damage assessment.

However, the jurisprudence of considering claims for compensation for damage to natural resources in the United States shows that valuation of damage to the components of the environment is an extremely difficult and controversial issue.

In accordance with the requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, (CERCLA or Superfund), the Department of the Interior of the US Government has developed Rules for determining the amount of damage to natural resources caused by pollution by hazardous substances ( CERCLA Natural resource damage assessment regulations ). Rules establish procedures for assessing damage, allow you to determine the causal relationship and assess the damage caused. Preference is given to restorative measures in front of monetary methods, because the costs of eliminating the consequences are usually easier to calculate, they are based on fewer unchecked economic valuation techniques and are actually verifiable.

Natural Resources Damage Assessment is the process by which US natural resource management agencies calculate the volume and collect the necessary funds for recovery in case of discharges or releases of hazardous substances or in the event of damage to natural resources storage of hazardous substances. The Department of Internal Affairs has developed rules to ensure order and standards for the implementation of this process.

The Superfund Law ( CERCLA) provides for the application of these rules, in the event of the release (release) of hazardous substances. The Clean Water Act allows the application of regulations in the event of the release (release) of a hazardous substance into navigable water bodies. Certain categories of responsible parties responsible for the discharge or release of hazardous substances are liable for damage to natural resources if applied. Natural resources include soil, fish, wildlife, plants, air and water, which government bodies administer on behalf of society. Only authorized bodies for the management of natural resources can claim compensation for damage to natural resources. The main authorized federal bodies are the Department of the Interior (including the Service for Management of Fisheries, Wildlife, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management), the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Agency and the Forest Service of the Ministry of Agriculture. State and local government officials usually have the authority to manage fish resources, game game, parks and water resources.

Authorized bodies and individuals must use recovered funds to finance restoration work, rehabilitation, replacement or purchase of equivalent of damaged natural resources. These actions, often referred to collectively as recovery & quot ;, are intended to return the corrupted resources to their original state. Funds for restoration may also include compensation for the temporary loss of functions of damaged resources from the time of the beginning of the damage until it is restored to its original state. Remediation and disposal of hazardous substances, usually conducted by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, states or municipal emergency agencies, focuses on monitoring hazardous substances that have been emitted and removed in order to protect human health and the environment from the threat of harm in future. Thus, although the removal of hazardous substances can reduce or even eliminate the need for restoration work, in some cases, the two types of actions are different.

The rules for assessing the damage to natural resources for hazardous substances are recommendatory procedures that authorized bodies and individuals can use to assess damage. Authorized bodies and individuals usually use these rules as the basis for negotiations on the settlement of damage with responsible (guilty) parties. However, if the authorized bodies and the responsible (guilty) parties failed to reach a settlement of the damage and the authorized bodies sued, the results of the assessment of the damage to natural resources obtained by the authorized bodies through these rules are entitled to the so-called "rebuttable presumption" in court proceedings. The rules contain an administrative procedure for the preparation of various documents and the procedure for coordination and interaction of interested parties. The rules also include a set of technical procedures and techniques for the actual identification of damage and losses.

According to the rules, there are four stages of the procedure for assessing damage to natural resources: 1) preliminary assessment,

2) the evaluation plan, 3) the implementation of the evaluation and 4) the final part. Once authorized authorities detect or are notified of the discharge or release of hazardous substances, they may carry out a preliminary assessment. Based on the established criteria, the authorized bodies prepare a preliminary analysis to determine the need for additional actions and evaluation. They document their findings, and if such a need is justified, they go on to drafting the evaluation plan.

When determining the evaluation plan, the authorized bodies prepare an evaluation plan proper, describing how they intend to determine the nature and extent of the damage. The plan should provide for the need to coordinate the activities of the authorized bodies with relevant agencies, involve responsible parties and provide opportunities for informing the public about the implementation of the evaluation plan.

After the evaluation plan is drawn up and submitted for public discussion, the authorized bodies begin to implement the evaluation, in accordance with the evaluation plan. The rules contain two main types of evaluation procedures for determining damage and damages. Procedures for Type A - standardized procedures for simplified assessments requiring a minimum amount of field observations that are used to determine damage with a small scale of contamination in certain environments. Procedures for Type B - more detailed procedures for evaluations in all other cases. The rules contain criteria for applying the type A and procedures type B or both.

The Department provides for the phased application of the type A procedures. At present, there are two types of A procedures: first, for a small spill of hazardous substances in coastal or marine areas, a model for assessing the damage to natural resources for the marine and coastal environment ( NRDAM/CME ); Secondly, for small spills of hazardous substances in natural environments similar to the Great Lakes, a model for assessing damage to the natural environment of the Great Lakes ( NRDAM/GLE ) is applied. Users of the methodologies provide certain data on weather conditions, the number and duration of the release or discharge, and determine the physical state of the spilled substance by the NRDAM/CME and NRDAM/GLE methods and assess the degree of adverse effects. The cost of restoration to the original state and the value (value) of some of the lost functions of natural resources are estimated from the point of view of public use (hunting, fishing, bird watching, visiting beaches, etc.). Procedures for Type A for coastal and marine natural environments also include the computer model under the name Model for assessing damage to natural resources for the coastal and marine environment. Version 2.4 ( NRDAM/CME ) Procedures for Type A for environments similar to the Great Lakes include a computer model called the "Model for Assessing the Damage to Natural Resources for the Environment of the Great Lakes." Version 1.4 (NRDAM/GLE) . Because the A are designed to assess small-scale emissions, discharges of hazardous substances, these valuation rules determine the upper limit of damage to $ 100,000 when they are applied, if the authorities are determined to seek a "refutable presumption" in the course of legal proceedings.

If the authorized bodies apply the type B procedures, they determine the amount of damage and loss through scientific and economic research. The rules include specific methods for assessing damage for each category of natural resources and conditions that allow the authorities to determine additional harm if the established criteria are met. The rules provide guidance on the selection of test and comparative methodologies to determine whether damage has been done and what pathways of adverse effects exist. If the damage is caused and the possibility of impact exists, then the authorized bodies determine the extent of the damage by: 1) identifying the functions or "services"; Natural resources, such as habitat, recreation area, management of erosion, etc .; 2) determining the level of the initial state of such functions; 3) determining the volume of reduction of the functions of natural resources as a result of the release or discharge of hazardous substances.

After identifying the nature and extent of harm, the competent authorities determine the appropriate restoration measures, including natural restoration, select the necessary set of measures, based on such factors as technical feasibility, the ratio of costs and results obtained and compliance with the objectives of reparation. Authorized bodies document their decisions in terms of restoration and compensation of the harm inflicted, which is submitted for public discussion. After a public discussion, the authorized bodies assess the cost of implementing the selected activities for the restoration of natural resources. They also can, but are not obliged to determine the lost profit for the society, using the methodology defined by the rules.

After the authorized bodies have calculated the amount of damage, the final stage of the evaluation begins. At this stage, the authorized bodies prepare a report detailing the results of the stage of performance of the damage assessment and submit the report to the guilty parties (responsible), along with the requirement to cover the damage and reasonable costs for its evaluation. The authorized bodies have the authority to resolve the damage at any time. But if the responsible (guilty) parties do not agree to repair the damage within 60 days after receiving the request, the authorized bodies may file a claim in court.

As soon as the funds for damage are recovered or settlement was achieved, the officials of the authorized bodies open an account for placing these funds and develop a recovery plan. Further, they ensure its public discussion, and then its implementation, using recovered funds for damage to natural resources.

However, according to US economists and environmentalists, there are still significant difficulties associated with the application of these rules. From their point of view, the developers of the document did not provide a sufficiently transparent procedure for selecting methods for assessing environmental damage, they did not establish clear standards of their application, or the hierarchy of factors considered in the rules take into account when developing damage assessment plans or restoration plans.

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