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Of Dead Pelicans, Turtles, and Marshes: Natural Resources Damages in the Wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill

Environmental Affairs, Vol. 38, No. 2

26 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2011  

Itzchak E. Kornfeld

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 20, 2011

Abstract

This Article posits that in its role as the lead agency among the United States’ natural resources trustees, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s piecemeal assessment of natural resources damages, i.e., valuing one dead bird at a time or the death of just a tract of marsh, fails to consider the inherent worth or the value of the entire ecosystem. Valuing the destruction of the entire ecosystem as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon well blowout is the best way to assess the damage in the Gulf Coast, particularly in south Louisiana. That crude oil spill resulted in an estimated 53,000 barrels per day, and a total volume of 4.9 million barrels that despoiled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding shorelines. As a consequence of the spill, thousands of birds, turtles, fish, and marshlands were left to die.

Keywords: BP Deepwater Horizon, South Louisiana, valuing natural resources, natural resources damages, natural resources trustees, NOAA, cost-benefit analysis, marshes, fish, turtles, birds, oil, oil spill, ecosystems, ecosystem valuation

JEL Classification: D74, Q20, Q22, Q24, Q28, 38, Q40, Q48, R14

Suggested Citation

Kornfeld, Itzchak E., Of Dead Pelicans, Turtles, and Marshes: Natural Resources Damages in the Wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill (April 20, 2011). Environmental Affairs, Vol. 38, No. 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1816324

Itzchak E. Kornfeld (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus, 91905
Israel

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