Natural resource damage assessment: background and case studies for Galveston Bay




Spencer, Stephen R. and R. Will Roach

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Galveston Bay National Estuary Program


The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (also called the Superfund Act) set up a fund to clean up hazardous waste sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). Additionally, it required that damages be collected by government agencies from potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for injury to, destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of natural resources that occur as a result of their exposure to spills or releases of oil or hazardous substances. When CERCLA was amended and extended by the Superfund amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), one provision was that the President designate natural resource trustees that would be required to seek restoration or monetary compensation (damages) for injuries to trust resources. Trust natural resources include land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, groundwater, and drinking water supplies that are under the protection and management of various trustee agencies. The President designated, through the National Contingency Plan (NCP), the Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, and Department of Agriculture as the main Federal trustees. The Department of Commerce delegated its authority to one of its bureaus, namely the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


pgs. 277-280


government policy, hazardous materials, oil spills, fish kill, damage assessment