Discussion Paper

Financial Assurance Rules and Natural Resource Damage Liability: A Working Marriage?

Apr 1, 2001 | James W. Boyd

Abstract

The study explores challenges associated with, and the feasibility of, financial assurance requirements for liabilities arising under U.S. environmental statutes, with a particular emphasis on liabilities associated with natural resource damages (NRDs). The overlap between federal NRD liability and financial assurance arises in the context of two financial assurance rules: one for waterborne vessels that carry oil or hazardous substances, and one for offshore facilities used for oil exploration, drilling, production, or transport. The report addresses the rules’ history, their role as a complement to other forms of environmental regulation, and their impact on the regulated community and providers of coverage. Despite numerous difficulties and over objections from the regulated community, the rules have been implemented with success and without significant shortfalls in coverage availability.