33 U.S. Code § 2706 - Natural resources

(a) Liability
In the case of natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title, liability shall be—
(1) to the United States Government for natural resources belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to the United States;
(2) to any State for natural resources belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to such State or political subdivision thereof;
(3) to any Indian tribe for natural resources belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to such Indian tribe; and
(4) in any case in which section 2707 of this title applies, to the government of a foreign country for natural resources belonging to, managed by, controlled by, or appertaining to such country.
(b) Designation of trustees
(1) In general
The President, or the authorized representative of any State, Indian tribe, or foreign government, shall act on behalf of the public, Indian tribe, or foreign country as trustee of natural resources to present a claim for and to recover damages to the natural resources.
(2) Federal trustees
The President shall designate the Federal officials who shall act on behalf of the public as trustees for natural resources under this Act.
(3) State trustees
The Governor of each State shall designate State and local officials who may act on behalf of the public as trustee for natural resources under this Act and shall notify the President of the designation.
(4) Indian tribe trustees
The governing body of any Indian tribe shall designate tribal officials who may act on behalf of the tribe or its members as trustee for natural resources under this Act and shall notify the President of the designation.
(5) Foreign trustees
The head of any foreign government may designate the trustee who shall act on behalf of that government as trustee for natural resources under this Act.
(c) Functions of trustees
(1) Federal trustees
The Federal officials designated under subsection (b)(2) of this section—
(A) shall assess natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title for the natural resources under their trusteeship;
(B) may, upon request of and reimbursement from a State or Indian tribe and at the Federal officials’ discretion, assess damages for the natural resources under the State’s or tribe’s trusteeship; and
(C) shall develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent, of the natural resources under their trusteeship.
(2) State trustees
The State and local officials designated under subsection (b)(3) of this section—
(A) shall assess natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title for the purposes of this Act for the natural resources under their trusteeship; and
(B) shall develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent, of the natural resources under their trusteeship.
(3) Indian tribe trustees
The tribal officials designated under subsection (b)(4) of this section—
(A) shall assess natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title for the purposes of this Act for the natural resources under their trusteeship; and
(B) shall develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent, of the natural resources under their trusteeship.
(4) Foreign trustees
The trustees designated under subsection (b)(5) of this section—
(A) shall assess natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title for the purposes of this Act for the natural resources under their trusteeship; and
(B) shall develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent, of the natural resources under their trusteeship.
(5) Notice and opportunity to be heard
Plans shall be developed and implemented under this section only after adequate public notice, opportunity for a hearing, and consideration of all public comment.
(d) Measure of damages
(1) In general
The measure of natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title is—
(A) the cost of restoring, rehabilitating, replacing, or acquiring the equivalent of, the damaged natural resources;
(B) the diminution in value of those natural resources pending restoration; plus
(C) the reasonable cost of assessing those damages.
(2) Determine costs with respect to plans
Costs shall be determined under paragraph (1) with respect to plans adopted under subsection (c) of this section.
(3) No double recovery
There shall be no double recovery under this Act for natural resource damages, including with respect to the costs of damage assessment or restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition for the same incident and natural resource.
(e) Damage assessment regulations
(1) Regulations
The President, acting through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and in consultation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the heads of other affected agencies, not later than 2 years after August 18, 1990, shall promulgate regulations for the assessment of natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title resulting from a discharge of oil for the purpose of this Act.
(2) Rebuttable presumption
Any determination or assessment of damages to natural resources for the purposes of this Act made under subsection (d) of this section by a Federal, State, or Indian trustee in accordance with the regulations promulgated under paragraph (1) shall have the force and effect of a rebuttable presumption on behalf of the trustee in any administrative or judicial proceeding under this Act.
(f) Use of recovered sums
Sums recovered under this Act by a Federal, State, Indian, or foreign trustee for natural resource damages under section 2702 (b)(2)(A) of this title shall be retained by the trustee in a revolving trust account, without further appropriation, for use only to reimburse or pay costs incurred by the trustee under subsection (c) of this section with respect to the damaged natural resources. Any amounts in excess of those required for these reimbursements and costs shall be deposited in the Fund.
(g) Compliance
Review of actions by any Federal official where there is alleged to be a failure of that official to perform a duty under this section that is not discretionary with that official may be had by any person in the district court in which the person resides or in which the alleged damage to natural resources occurred. The court may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) to any prevailing or substantially prevailing party. Nothing in this subsection shall restrict any right which any person may have to seek relief under any other provision of law.

Source

(Pub. L. 101–380, title I, § 1006,Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 494.)
References in Text

This Act, referred to in subsecs. (b)(2)–(5), (c)(2)(A), (3)(A), (4)(A), (d)(3), (e), and (f), is Pub. L. 101–380, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 484, as amended, known as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2701 of this title and Tables.
Delegation of Functions

Functions of President under subsec. (b)(3) and (4) of this section delegated to Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency by section 8(c) of Ex. Ord. No. 12777, Oct. 18, 1991, 56 F.R. 54768, set out as a note under section 1321 of this title.
NOAA Oil and Hazardous Substance Spill Cost Reimbursement

Pub. L. 102–567, title II, § 205,Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4282, provided that:
“(a) Treatment of Amounts Received as Reimbursement of Expenses.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amounts received by the United States as reimbursement of expenses related to oil or hazardous substance spill response activities, or natural resource damage assessment, restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition activities, conducted (or to be conducted) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—
“(1) shall be deposited into the Fund;
“(2) shall be available, without fiscal year limitation and without apportionment, for use in accordance with the law under which the activities are conducted; and
“(3) shall not be considered to be an augmentation of appropriations.
“(b) Application.—Subsection (a) shall apply to amounts described in subsection (a) that are received—
“(1) after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 29, 1992]; or
“(2) with respect to the oil spill associated with the grounding of the EXXON VALDEZ.
“(c) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—
“(1) the term ‘Fund’ means the Damage Assessment and Restoration Revolving Fund of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration referred to in title I of Public Law 101–515 under the heading ‘National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ (104 Stat. 2105) [set out as a note below]; and
“(2) the term ‘expenses’ includes incremental and base salaries, ships, aircraft, and associated indirect costs, except the term does not include base salaries and benefits of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Support Coordinators.”
Damage Assessment and Restoration Revolving Fund; Deposits; Availability; Transfer

Pub. L. 101–515, title I, Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 2105, provided that: “For contingency planning, response and natural resource damage assessment and restoration activities, pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation[,] and Liability Act [of 1980], as amended [42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.], the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended [33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.], the Marine Protection, Research[,] and Sanctuaries Act [of 1972], as amended [16 U.S.C. 1431et seq., 1447 et seq.; 33 U.S.C. 1401 et seq., 2801 et seq.], and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 [33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.], $5,000,000 to remain available until expended: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, in fiscal year 1991 and thereafter, sums provided by any party or governmental entity for natural resource damage assessment, response or restoration activities conducted or to be conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a result of any injury to the marine environment and/or resources for which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acts as trustee of said marine environment and/or resources, shall be deposited in the Damage Assessment and Restoration Revolving Fund and said funds so deposited shall remain available until expended: Provided further, That for purposes of obligation and expenditure in fiscal year 1991 and thereafter, sums available in the Damage Assessment and Restoration Revolving Fund may be transferred, upon the approval of the Secretary of Commerce or his delegate, to the Operations, Research, and Facilities appropriation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

This is a list of parts within the Code of Federal Regulations for which this US Code section provides rulemaking authority.

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15 CFR - Commerce and Foreign Trade

15 CFR Part 990 - NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS

33 CFR - Navigation and Navigable Waters

33 CFR Part 135 - OFFSHORE OIL POLLUTION COMPENSATION FUND

40 CFR - Protection of Environment

40 CFR Part 3 - CROSS-MEDIA ELECTRONIC REPORTING

 

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