As the Climate Changes, So Will Natural Resource Damage Claims

May 2021

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 1, Number 8

The effects of climate change present new challenges to the government and private sector. This will mean new policies and regulations, particularly at the federal level. Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, renewed emphasis on evaluating greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts and potential changes to the Securities and Exchange Commission Environmental, Social and Governance reporting for public companies are just a few examples. There are also well-established existing regulatory frameworks and related policies that are, and will increasingly need to adapt to the effects of climate change. This article examines the impacts of climate change on Natural Resource Damages (NRD)—an established regulatory program at the intersection of climate change science, economics, planning and their application to the legal remedies provided by the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)—to recover damages for injuries to natural resources from oil spills and releases of hazardous substances.

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