Natural Resource Damages, Mitigation Banking, and the Watershed Approach
James McElfish, Cynthia Harris, Azi Akpan, Thien Chau, and Rebecca Kihslinger
Date Released
March 2018
Natural Resource Damages, Mitigation Banking, and the Watershed Approach

The Oil Pollution Act and CERCLA allow for the recovery of more than just cleanup costs following an oil spill or the release of hazardous substances. These laws also provide for recovery of damages to restore or replace natural resources to the conditions that would have existed prior to the spill or release, as well as to compensate for interim losses of ecological services.

Floodplain Buyouts, Community Resilience and Habitat Connectivity

Since 1993, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has funded the acquisition of over 55,000 flood-damaged properties. Under FEMA’s acquisition programs, once properties are purchased following a disaster, existing structures must be removed and the land must be dedicated to open space, recreational, or wetland management uses. These properties can offer opportunities to restore and permanently protect natural habitats and help conserve biodiversity, while also providing community amenities and improving resilience.

Getting the Boom Without the Bust: Guiding Southwestern Pennsylvania Through Shale Gas Development
James McElfish (Environmental Law Institute), Diana Stares (Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy & Management)
Date Released
July 2014
Getting the Boom without the Bust: Guiding Southwestern Pennsylvania through Sha

Shale gas development has raised concerns that local governments might be entering a “boom and bust” cycle. This study examines the gas boom in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, and explores best practices to forestall or mitigate a subsequent economic downturn or “bust.” A key focus of the study is the distribution and expenditure of state impact fees assessed on the gas industry.

The Nature of Open Space: Linking Land Protection and Biodiversity Conservation

Although universally recognized as a fundamental component of ecosystem health and integrity, biological diversity, or biodiversity, continues to be lost at an alarming rate. The primary threats to biodiversity in the United States are habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation. As a result, land acquisition — both publicly and privately financed — is viewed as the surest and most effective tool in the conservation toolbox.

Maryland Smart Growth

The Environmental Law Institute studies local and state land-use and development laws and policies in Maryland. Approaching the state as a model and a case study, ELI evaluates practices and promotes those that foster smart growth while offering solutions to problem policies that create sprawl.

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