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NOAA's Latest Attempts at Natural Resource Damages Regulation: Simpler . . . But Better?

December 1995

Citation: ELR 10671

Author: Robert F. Copple

Editors' Summary: The debate about the most appropriate procedures and methodologies to conduct natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs) has continued throughout the last decade among agencies and stakeholders. In August 1995, NOAA proposed the most recent set of regulations to govern NRDAs under the Oil Pollution Act. This Article reviews the history of natural resource damages regulations and the 1995 NOAA proposed rule. It concludes that while NOAA has made a valiant effort to respond to stakeholders' concerns and to simplify the NRDA process, the agency has sidestepped the most controversial issues in the NRDA debate, such as the appropriate scientific methodologies and valuation techniques, and to what extent passive-use values should be compensable.