States may pursue natural resource damage (NRD) claims pursuant to the 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. Furthermore, as can be seen below, it is fair to say that state programs are evolving rapidly. Several state programs are fairly robust and many other states are currently considering increased NRD activity.
This guide provides an overview of the NRD programs in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. The overview of each respective program includes a discussion of applicable statutory authority, principal state trustee(s), major matters and settlements where that information is available, contact information, and important reference material.
The information in this guide was generally derived from self-reporting by the state trustees. In 2006, Arnold & Porter contacted every state trustee and solicited information regarding the trustee's NRD program. Specifically, we requested information regarding the following: (i) the nature and history of the trustee's efforts, (ii) the number of employees involved and their roles, (iii) the state's NRD budget, (iv) the damage assessment methodologies used, (v) authority to employ private counsel, (vi) the types of injuries frequently seen, (vii) the amounts recovered in past actions, (viii) the major pending matters, (ix) whether the state was currently pursuing groundwater claims, and (x) the applicable state statutes, if any.
In general, the state trustees were very responsive and willing to provide information. Many state trustees responded in writing, although in some cases information was gathered by telephone. To the extent the trustee responded in writing, these responses are on file with the author. Additional information was obtained from the internet.
This 50-state guide was comprehensively updated in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and most recently in August 2021. Arnold & Porter requested from each state information regarding recent developments and major matters. In addition, where possible, we updated contact information, delegation authority, staffing/budget data, and other aspects of the guide.
The natural resource trustees in Alabama are the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the State Geologist of the Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA), with the Commissioner of ADCNR serving as the lead trustee. The State Lands Division serves as the state lead in developing and implementing Alabama's Natural Resource Damages Assessment program. The trustees do not have dedicated NRD staff but use staff members from within their departments as necessary. The state does not use private attorneys to bring NRD claims. Alabama's trustees prefer to use habitat based assessment methods, although other methods are employed as necessary. The state is considering implementing a groundwater program.
- Major Matters
Shelby County Train Derailment — In May 2006, a CSX train derailed in Shelby County, Alabama, resulting in a soybean spill into Little Creek, which flows into Yellow Leaf Creek. According to the state, this led to the damage of aquatic life, including fish, mussels, and snails. A cooperative settlement resulted in payment of $491,976 by CSX to the Fish and Wildlife Division of ADCNR, which will be used to compensate for the investigation and value of the aquatic loss. Additionally, a portion of the settlement will support propagation and stocking efforts of freshwater species such as mussels and snails.
Anniston PCB Site — The Anniston plant, located in and around Anniston, Alabama, allegedly produced PCBs from approximately 1929 to 1971. PCBs were allegedly disposed into landfills adjacent to the site and a nearby creek. The Anniston PCB Site is in the process of being remediated. NRD is currently being assessed as well. NRD trustees include ADCNR, GSA, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), as represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). A Stage I Assessment Plan was released in March 2010 and assessed the following resources for potential injury: surface water, groundwater, geological resources such as floodplain soils, and biological resources such as fish and birds.
Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant NPL Site — According to trustees—USFWS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ADCNR, and GSA—historic disposal practices at the 1,500-acre Ciba-Geigy McIntosh Plant, located in McIntosh, Alabama, released hazardous substances—including DDT, DDE, and DDD—that contaminated soils, surface water, groundwater, and sediments in the Tombigbee River floodplain and Mobile Bay watershed. The site was listed on the National Priorities List in 1984. On October 2, 2013, a consent decree between the trustees and defendant BASF Corporation was entered, whereby BASF Corporation agreed to pay $5 million in total settlement costs, broken down as follows: $3.2 million to plan, implement, and oversee natural resource restoration projects in the Mobile Bay watershed; $500,000 to ADCNR for ecosystem restoration in the Mobile Bay watershed through support of the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center; and $1.3 million to the federal trustees for past assessment costs. A Final Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Assessment was released in September 2017. Restoration is ongoing.
Deepwater Horizon — On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, caused a fire and led to the subsequent sinking of the rig into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the release of oil into the Gulf. The wellhead was capped in mid-July 2010. The natural resource trustees that are engaged in this matter include NOAA, DOI, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, ADCNR, GSA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Very shortly after the incident occurred, one of the responsible parties, BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BPXP), began engaging in cooperative studies with the trustees to assess NRD caused by the oil release. Technical Working Groups were created for potentially impacted natural resources, and over 160 cooperative studies were undertaken including for birds, marine mammals (e.g., dolphins), sea turtles, marshes, oysters, offshore water column, offshore benthic habitats, and human use. In April 2011, BPXP and the trustees entered into a Framework Agreement whereby BPXP committed to provide up to $1 billion toward early restoration projects to address NRD caused by the incident. Between 2012 and 2016, five phases of early restoration projects were approved by the trustees and BPXP, encompassing 65 projects at an estimated $866 million.
On April 4, 2016, a consent decree, which resolves the United States' Clean Water Act penalty claim against BPXP, all NRD claims of the United States and the five Gulf States, as well as certain other federal and state claims, was approved by the court in MDL 2179. Pursuant to the consent decree, BPXP will pay $8.1 billion over 15 years for NRD (which includes the $1 billion previously committed for early restoration), up to $700 million for adaptive management and to address natural resource conditions that are presently unknown, and $350 million for NRD assessment costs incurred by the trustees. The consent decree can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/file/838066/download.
In February 2016, the trustees released their Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. The plan allocates settlement funds to address habitat, water quality, living coastal and marine resources, recreational opportunities, and monitoring, adaptive management, and administrative oversight to support restoration implementation. For more information about this matter, see http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/.
- Contact Information
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: 64 North Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130. Tel: (334) 242-5502. Web: http://www.outdooralabama.com/.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Charlanna Skaggs, General Counsel, 64 North Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130. Tel: (334) 242-3165. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geological Survey of Alabama: Bob Mink, Deputy Director, 420 Hackberry Lane, P.O. Box 869999, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-6999. Tel: (205) 349-2852 (x3589). E-mail: email@example.com. Web: http://www.gsa.state.al.us/.
The Commissioners of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Department of Law (DOL), all serve as natural resource trustees for Alaska, with trustee representatives from each of these agencies serving on behalf of the Commissioners. Alaska currently does not have a dedicated NRD program but is exploring the development of one. NRD activities are managed through DEC's Division of Spill Prevention and Response, which houses the Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program (PPRP) charged with addressing releases of oil and hazardous substances, and the Contaminated Sites Program (CSP), which oversees cleanups at legacy sites. These programs have 58 and 53 full-time employees, respectively.
Since 1995, PPRP has settled three cases under federal statutes with state participation, and two cases are currently pending. In 2011-2012, CSP explored the development of an approach to assess damages for contaminated groundwater at legacy sites, including the possible application of a simplified groundwater injury model. This effort is currently on hold. Alaska does not use private attorneys to pursue NRD claims. Alaska's state NRD statutes can be found at ALASKA Stat. §§ 46.03.760 (d)(2), 46.03.780, and 46.03.820.
- Major Matters
T/V Exxon Valdez — On March 24, 1989, the 986-foot oil tanker vessel, T/V Exxon Valdez, ran aground on Bligh Reef spilling approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. The oil allegedly contaminated portions of the shoreline of Prince William Sound, the Kenai Peninsula, lower Cook Inlet, the Kodiak Archipelago, and the Alaska Peninsula. In 1991, the responsible party entered into a consent agreement with the state of Alaska and the United States, whereby the responsible party—Exxon Corporation—agreed to pay $900 million, allocated as follows: (1) past response and cleanup costs (not to exceed $142 million); (2) litigation costs (not to exceed $75 million for costs incurred on or before March 12, 1991, and not to exceed $1 million per month for costs incurred after March 12, 1991); and (3) NRD. Potentially injured resources included migratory birds and seabirds, threatened and endangered species, marine mammals, anadromous fish, and shoreline including designated wilderness lands. The settlement contained a reopener window between September 2002 and September 2006, during which the trustees could make a claim for up to an additional $100 million to address injuries from the spill that were not known or foreseeable at the time of the settlement in 1991. In June 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice and DOL asserted a claim under the reopener provision by providing Exxon with a detailed project plan for the cleanup of lingering oil at an estimated cost of $92 million. Recent research funded by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council indicates resources injured by the spill have largely recovered and the presence of lingering oil at discrete locations in the spill area is not having a continuing adverse effect on water quality or wildlife in the area. In October 2015, state and federal attorneys dropped all claims to the reopener, putting an end to state and federal claims against Exxon Mobil. Further information on the Exxon Valdez oil spill can be found at https://evostc.state.ak.us/.
M/V Kuroshima — On November 26, 1997, a 368-foot refrigerated cargo vessel—M/V Kuroshima— broke away from its anchorage in winds exceeding 100 knots and struck Second Priest Rock, damaging several of the vessel's fuel tanks, before running aground in Summer Bay. About 39,000 gallons of Bunker C fuel oil spilled from the freighter with much of the oil blowing upstream into Summer Bay Lake. The remaining oil allegedly stranded along Summer Bay's shoreline. Potentially impacted resources included birds, shoreline vegetation, shellfish, intertidal biota, salmonids, other Summer Bay Lake resources, and lost recreational services. In March 2002, the responsible parties entered into a consent decree with the trustees which included payment of $644,017 for NRD restoration and $57,145 in past assessment costs.
M/V Selendang Ayu — In December 2004, the M/V Selendang Ayu ran aground and broke apart off the northwestern coast of Unalaska Island, spilling approximately 354,218 gallons of intermediate fuel oil, marine diesel fuel, and thousands of metric tons of soybeans into the Bering Sea. IMC Shipping Co., the operator of the M/V Selendang Ayu, settled with the state of Alaska for oil spill cleanup costs, wreck removal, and lost tax revenue from the decline in local fishing. On January 27, 2012, IMC Shipping was granted a liability limitation of $23,853,000 from the U.S. Coast Guard. State and federal trustees are currently submitting a claim to the U.S. Coast Guard for past and future NRD restoration and assessment costs. Potentially impacted resources include migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, marine species, anadromous fish, and lost recreational services. A claim for NRD assessment and restoration costs was submitted to the National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) on February 6, 2016, and is currently under review. A final assessment plan was released in October 2016, and funding was obtained from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in January 2018 to complete the quantification of natural resource injuries, develop restoration ideas, and prepare a Restoration Plan.
Adak Petroleum Diesel Spill — On January 11, 2010, while the T/V Al Amerat was offloading #2 diesel fuel to Adak Petroleum LLC's underground storage tank, the fuel overfilled into secondary containment. The fuel allegedly overwhelmed the containment sump unit, resulting in a release of approximately 142,000 gallons into Helmet Creek and Adak's small boat harbor. In September 2013, Adak Petroleum entered into a consent decree with trustees—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DOI, and the state—which included payment of $277,027 for past NRD costs and held Adak Petroleum liable for stream restoration and future monitoring costs of same. Birds, fish, their habitat, and lost recreational services were the resources potentially affected.
Tug Powhatan Oil Spill — The Tug Powhatan was an out-of-service tugboat that sank, for unknown reasons, on April 19, 2017, from its dock in Starrigavan Bay, near Sitka, Alaska. The tugboat contained an unknown volume of diesel fuel, gasoline, fuel residues, and lubricating oils, and oil sheens became visible in Starrigavan Bay and in parts of Sitka Sound shortly after sinking. According to NOAA the trustee more than 6,830 gallons of oil-water mixture were recovered. Sheens were allegedly observed until the vessel was removed from the water on June 12, 2017. Potentially impacted resources include Pacific herring and lost human use related to shellfish harvesting. A Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment was released in January 2020. Samson Tug & Barge was named the responsible party for the incident, but it reached its limit of liability, requiring NOAA to submit a claim to the NPFC. A settlement with NPFC was reached in June 2023 for $1.3 million, which will fund two restoration projects and reimburse costs incurred during the NRD assessment.
- Contact Information
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation: Jody Barthlow, M.S., Environmental Program Specialist III, Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program Scientific Support Unit, 555 Cordova Street, Anchorage, AK 99501-2617. Tel: (907) 269-3084.. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/ppr/.
Alaska Department of Law: Jennifer Currie, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Section Supervisor, 1031 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501-1994. Tel: (907) 269- 5274. E-mail: email@example.com. Web: http://www.law.state.ak.us/.
Alaska Department of Law: Jennifer Seely, Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Section, 1031 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501-1994. Tel: (907) 269- 5100. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: http://www.law.state.ak.us/.Arizona
Arizona's natural resource trustee is the Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The state has no budgeted NRD funding but allocates resources on an as-needed basis. To date, Arizona has resolved two NRD claims. Arizona does not have authority to use private attorneys to pursue NRD claims, nor does it have an independent state NRD statute.
- Major Matters
ASARCO LLC — In the midst of ASARCO's bankruptcy in 2009, ASARCO and the state of Arizona settled claims regarding three historic mining sites for $30 million. The NRD portion of the settlement, according to the terms filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, included about $4 million in unsecured claims and the transfer of approximately 1,000 acres, valued between $3 million and $4 million, to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for the preservation of wildlife.
Freeport-McMoRan Corp Morenci Mine — In April 2012, Freeport McMoRan agreed to pay a $6.8 million settlement for potential injuries to natural resources that resulted from hazardous substance releases at and from the company's Morenci Mine site in eastern Arizona. In 2000 and 2001, tailings ponds at the copper mine site were found to be toxic and potentially responsible for death and other injuries to migratory birds through exposure and ingestion. Modeling of injuries preceding these events identified a future loss of wildlife productivity. Settlement negotiations began in 2003 between the state of Arizona, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Freeport-McMoRan Corporation and its subsidiaries. Settlement funds will be used for the restoration of aquatic and wildlife populations and their habitat. A scoping meeting to discuss potential restoration projects was held in April 2013. A draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment was released in March 2017.
- Contact Information
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality: 1110 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Tel: (602) 771-2203 or (800) 234-5677. Web: https://www.azdeq.gov/home-page.
Arkansas has state statutory authority for NRD claims codified at ARK. CODE ANN. §§ 8-4-103(b), 8-5-702(e), 8-6-204(b)-(c), 8-7-204(b)-(c), 8-7-806(d)-(e). Arkansas statutes provide for a Natural Resources Damages Advisory Board*, which is tasked with developing projects for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, and acquisition of natural resources; requesting proposals for natural resource-related projects; reviewing and evaluating proposals for natural resource-related projects; and selecting projects for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, and acquisition of natural resources. The statute governing the Board's powers and duties is ARK. CODE ANN. § 8-12-104.
- Major Matters
Vertac Chemical Corporation Superfund Site — The Vertac Chemical Corporation Superfund Site, located in Jacksonville, Arkansas, was a former pesticide and herbicide plant that operated from 1948 until 1987, which manufactured, among other things, Agent Orange. Dioxin was created as a by-product of the manufacturing process, which contaminated the site and migrated into Bayou Metro. In addition to paying a $1 million settlement to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reforest and restore the damaged natural resources (bottomland hardwoods, waterfowl, migratory birds, songbirds, and bald eagles), Hercules, the former owner and operator of the site, settled separately with the state for $1 million. The intended purpose of this settlement was to purchase riparian lands to serve as buffer corridors to control pollution. Further, Hercules agreed to restore Lake Dupree.
Mayflower Pipeline — On March 29, 2013, an ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.'s Pegasus pipeline ruptured in the town of Mayflower, Arkansas, resulting in the spill of an estimated 150,000 gallons of raw tar sands crude oil in a neighborhood and an adjacent waterway. A consent decree between the United States of America, the state of Arkansas, ExxonMobil Pipeline, and Mobile Pipe Line Company was entered in August 2015, whereby the defendants agreed to pay $5.07 million in civil penalties, legal fees, and an environmental remediation project. Currently, the state is taking the lead in investigating potential NRD.
*The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is one of various state agencies that comprise the Natural Resource Damage Advisory Board.
- Contact Information
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality: 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317. Tel: (501) 682-0744. Fax: (501) 682-0880. Web: http://www.adeq.state.ar.us.
California's natural resource trustees for purposes of CERCLA and OPA are the California Secretary for Natural Resources and the Secretary for Environmental Protection for resources within the purview. The Secretaries have delegated state trustee authority to the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Wildlife Conservation Board for purposes of implementing restoration plans developed pursuant to OPA or CERCLA, the Director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the State Water Resources Control Board. Additional trustees are authorized to act under state law, including the State Lands Commission and the University of California. The Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) was created in 1991 pursuant to the Lempert-Kenne-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, Government Code §§ 8670.1 et seq. OSPR has a dedicated NRD unit within the Resource Restoration Program that employs one toxicologist, one economist, four environmental scientists, and one manager. OSPR also employs five staff attorneys, one of which focuses primarily on NRD assessment cases. On large cases NRD assessment staff members work cooperatively with attorneys and scientists from other state and federal agencies. OSPR has carried caseloads of up to 5 large cases and 15-20 smaller cases. Since OSPR's inception, nearly $229 million in damages collected through NRD assessment settlements has been used to fund restoration projects. To date, the state has litigated or settled 27 larger and 120 smaller NRD cases. Total damages recovered from these cases are exclusive of fines, penalties, and assessment costs; this total represents total NRD recovered by all trustees, including federal trustees.
California usually assesses NRD using habitat or resource equivalency analysis for resources and benefits transfer information for recreational losses. California has on occasion retained private counsel to bring NRD claims. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is not a trustee for groundwater, but has pursued NRD in cases involving contaminated groundwater when it was surfacing and impacting wildlife and habitat (e.g., Guadalupe Dunes).
California has numerous state-law authorities for pursuing NRD claims, including CAL. GOV'T CODE § 8670.56.5(h), CAL. FISH & GAME CODE §§ 2014, 12011, and 12016, CAL. HAR. & NAV. § 151, and CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 25189.1. Under the Government Code, responsible parties are strictly liable, jointly and severally, for NRD "that arise out of, or are caused by a spill or inland spill." CAL. GOV'T. CODE § 8670.56.5(a), (h), & (i). Furthermore, parties liable for civil penalties for the unlawful disposal of hazardous waste face additional liability for restoration, rehabilitation, and replacement of natural resources damaged "as a result of the disposal of the hazardous waste." CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 25189.1(a)(2).
- Major Matters
Below are detailed descriptions of a few of California's largest NRD claims. A chart to follow provides basic information about other large NRD matters that California has resolved.
Montrose Chemical Corp. — According to the state, from the 1940s to the 1970s, the Montrose Chemical Plant discharged an estimated 1,800 tons of the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) into Los Angeles County sewers, which eventually made its way to the Pacific Ocean. Montrose also allegedly dumped hundreds of tons of DDT-contaminated waste directly into the ocean near Santa Catalina Island. Other responsible parties disposed of large quantities of PCBs into the ocean via the local sewer system. These discharges resulted in harm to fish, breeding problems in raptors, including bald eagles, and other negative effects on the marine ecosystem. The state and federal trustees litigated their NRD claims in federal district court, leading to several important published opinions. Ultimately, the NRD case against the industrial DDT potentially responsible parties settled for $30 million after the commencement of trial. A final restoration plan for birds and fish, and the habitats on which they depend, was released in October 2005.
Cantara Loop/Dunsmuir Chemical Spill — A train accident in 1991 caused a chemical tank car to spill 19,000 gallons of the herbicide metam sodium into the Sacramento River. Effects of the spill extended for over 20 miles to Lake Shasta. The primary resources affected were in-stream and riparian habitats and fish; recreational use was also affected. The state and federal trustees settled the NRD portion of the case with the responsible party, Southern Pacific Railroad, for $14 million. After 12 years, restoration activities were completed in 2007.
American Trader Oil Spill — In 1990, the tanker American Trader ran over its anchor, causing it to spill an estimated 416,598 gallons of crude oil near Huntington Beach in Orange County. In addition to affecting fish and recreational use of Huntington Beach, the spill killed an estimated 3,400 birds. The recreational injury component of the case was tried, and a jury awarded the trustees $13.2 million. The biological injury component (i.e., effects on fish and birds) settled for $2.8 million for seabird projects plus $300,000 in water pollution monitoring projects. A restoration plan for this site was finalized in 2001, and all restoration projects for this site are now complete.
Cosco Busan Oil Spill — On November 7, 2007, M/V Cosco Busan, a cargo vessel, struck a tower of the Bay Bridge between Treasure Island and San Francisco, which resulted in a release of approximately 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel. The tide caused the oil to move throughout the Bay and into the ocean. Over 70 studies were conducted that determined impacted resources to include birds, fish, shoreline habitats, and human recreational activities. In September 2011, responsible parties Regal Stone Limited and Fleet Management Ltd. agreed to pay $44.4 million for NRD, penalties, and reimbursement to government entities for response activities incurred as a result of the spill. Approximately $32.3 million of the settlement will fund NRD project restoration: $5 million for bird restoration; $4 million for habitat restoration; $2.5 million for fish and eelgrass restoration; $18.8 million for recreational use improvements; and $2 million for planning, administration, and oversight. Restoration planning was completed in 2012, and restoration projects are in progress. To date, over $22 million has been allocated to fund over 60 restoration projects.
Refugio Beach Oil Spill — On May 19, 2015, an underground pipeline running parallel to Highway 101 ruptured near Refugio State Beach, spilling over 123,000 gallons of crude oil; approximately 50,000 gallons ran down a ravine under the freeway and entered the ocean. The spill impacted Refugio and El Capitan State Beaches, the Santa Barbara Channel, and portions of the southern California coastline south of the Los Angeles area. The responsible parties for the spill are Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., and Plains Pipeline, L.P. The trustees who administer the case include the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; California Department of Parks and Recreation; California State Lands Commission; University of California; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. In October 2020, the trustees settled the NRD portion of the case for $22.3 million, which includes $2.2 million for bird restoration, $2.3 million for marine mammal restoration, $5.5 million for shoreline habitat restoration, $6.1 for subtidal and fish habitat restoration, $3.9 million for human use and recreational improvements, and $2 million for administration and oversight. Restoration planning was completed in June 2021 and, to date, over $4.3 million has been allocated to fund 16 restoration projects.
Huntington Beach Oil Spill — On October 1, 2021, the San Pedro Bay Pipeline failed and spilled an estimated 24,500 gallons of oil into ocean water 4.5 miles offshore of Huntington Beach. Federal and state trustees allege that the oil spill impacted ocean waters, rocky intertidal habitats, subtidal habitats, sandy beaches, sensitive marsh habitats, fish, birds, invertebrates, and marine mammals, and they are currently investigating the extent of potential injury. On June 16, 2023, NOAA issued a Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration Planning. The trustees are inviting the public to submit restoration ideas and project proposals.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.