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Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases


animals and recreational use to oil spills. The WVS for a particular spill site ranges from one to five depending on the category into which the site has been placed. The highest sensitivity score goes to wetlands that, for example, harbor endangered species, while the lowest score goes to small, hydrologically-isolated wetlands full of invasive species. Part 3: Calculation of damages using compensation schedule The formula used to calculate monetary damages for spills into marine and estuarine waters is: Damages ($) = V*m*[(OilAT* SVSAT) + (OilMI* SVSMI) + (OilPER* SVSPER)] (6) and the formula used to calculate monetary damages for spills into the Columbia River Estuary, freshwater bodies, or wetlands is: Damages ($) = V*m*SVS [OilAT +OilMI+OilPER] , where (7) V = volume of spill (gallons) SVS = spill vulnerability score OILAT = acute toxicity score for the oil OILMI = mechanical injury score for the oil OILPER = persistence score for the oil j = most sensitive season affected by the spill m = multiplier to adjust the damages to a range of $1-50 per gallon; equal to: 0.10 for marine and estuarine waters 0.20 for Columbia River 0.08 for freshwater bodies 0.81 for freshwater wetlands. When oil spills affect more than one type of environment, damages are calculated using the methods described above for each of the receiving environment types exposed to the spilled oil. Total damages are then estimated as the greatest of the damages calculated for the receiving environment types exposed to the spill. This allows damage assessment to proceed without trying to ascertain how much oil spread onto each of the different types of environments. Part 4: Adjusting damages for PRP mitigation The damages estimated above may be modified based on actions taken by the PRP, such as preventing spill injury to certain types of species and restoring resources injured by the spill. The extent to which damages are reduced is determined by the natural resource damage assessment committee. If the PRP contains the oil spill before it comes in contact with the shore and removes a part of the spilled oil then the damages assessed are reduced. For the portion of the oil that is removed damages are assessed after reducing the OILMI and the OILPER scores by 10%. These damages are then added to damages assessed for the portion of the oil not immediately removed from the receiving environment. However, damages are not to be reduced to less than one dollar per gallon of oil spilled. 32

Example of the Washington method in use: Suppose there were a spill of 30 gallons of asphalt sealant in an estuarine area during the summer. Of the area covered by the spill, 50% was open water, 20% was mud flats, and 30% was open rocky shores. The habitat vulnerability scores are calculated as: Discussion of Washington method % coverage HVSAT HVSMI HVSPER Open water .50 5 3.2 2.2 Mud flats .20 3.7 2.6 4.1 Open rocky shores .30 3 3.5 3 Overall: 4.14 3.17 2.82 Other parameters for the area and season of the spill are: Notation Parameter Value BVS Marine bird vulnerability score 2 MVS Marine mammal vulnerability score 1 MFVS Marine fisheries vulnerability score 3 SFVS Shellfish vulnerability score 2 SAVS Salmon vulnerability score a We have data from the DECY on NRD cases during the years 1991 to 2001. During that time, 90% of the oil releases in Washington were handled using this compensation method. The single most common pollutant was diesel oil, which accounted for 64% of all cases; the remaining cases were spread widely among at least 15 other categories of petroleum products. Most cases were either in freshwater streams and lakes (34%) or marine environments (51%). Of the cases for which claims have been filed, 84% are recorded as having been paid. Figure 2.4 33 4.5 RVS Recreation vulnerability score 2 Sum of vulnerability scores: 14.5 The two tables above imply that the spill vulnerability scores for the three oil effects are SVSAT = 18.64, SVSMI = 17.67, and SVSPER = 17.32. For this particular kind of oil, the harmfulness rankings are given by OilAT = .9, OilMI = 5, and OilPER = 4. Damages are thus equal to: Damages ($) = 30 * .1 * [(.9*18.64) + (5* 17.67) + (4* 17.32)] = $523.22 a The salmon vulnerability score is calculated with a page-long table that is omitted here in the interest of clarity. Source: Adapted from cases provided by the Washington Department of Ecology.

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