View all text of Subchapter I [§ 2701 - § 2720]

§ 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)—
(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)—
(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)—
(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)—
(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).

(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) 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) 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.

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