Status of Selected Federal Natural Resource Damage Settlements

RCED-97-10: Published: Nov 20, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1996.

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Peter F. Guerrero
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the settlements reached in the five largest federal natural resource damage cases, focusing on the: (1) number and status of the remaining settlements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980; and (2) uses made of the collected funds.

GAO found that: (1) as of July 1, 1996, in addition to the settlements for the 5 largest cases, settlements had been reached at 62 sites, resulting in $33.8 million in awards to federal trustees; (2) about 80 percent of the $33.8 million awarded had been collected; (3) about 19 percent of the collected funds had been allocated for performing damage assessments, planning, or restoration; (4) one site had been restored, and seven were in various stages of restoration; and (5) the trustees' use of the remaining 81 percent of the collected funds was awaiting the completion of restoration plans or other activities, such as cleanups or settlements with other responsible parties at the same site.

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