States may pursue natural resource damage (NRD) claims pursuant to key federal statutes or, in some cases, pursuant to independent state authority. Over the years, many states have played a critical role in the prosecution of NRD claims, either in conjunction with federal and tribal trustees, or wholly independently.

In 2006, Brian D. Israel, head of the Arnold & Porter Environmental practice group, published a "State-by-State Guide to NRD Programs in All 50 States" (the Guide). Since its initial publication, the Guide has been regularly updated and expanded to include Puerto Rico. The most recent update was released this month and includes a detailed description of over 240 major NRD cases from across the country. For this iteration of the Guide, comprehensive feedback was received and incorporated from multiple state trustees, 15 new major NRD assessments and settlements were added, and numerous other NRD matter summaries were updated since the Guide's last publication.

As explained in the Guide, a large number of state NRD programs are fairly robust, like California, which has recovered nearly US$229 million in NRD since its NRD program's inception. Other states are expanding their NRD programs, like North Dakota, which had no known NRD claims until 2015, with its first settlement entered in U.S. District Court in September 2021.

Here is the most recent Guide.

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