Natural Resource Damages (NRD) actions focus on the injury to the environment and the natural resources that belong to the public and are managed and protected in trust by certain federal, state and tribal governmental entities. Building on the public trust doctrine and common law rights traditionally vested in the sovereign, NRD statutes vest certain enumerated trustees with the ability to seek recovery for the public's loss of natural resources occasioned by a spill or discharge.
By law, the types of natural resources covered and for which trustees are authorized to seek recovery include land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such sources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by state and federal governments.
Natural Resource Damages statutes and the public trust doctrine vest federal, state and tribal trustees with the ability to recover for the past and future loss of the human uses of such contaminated or impacted resources. For example, an oil spill in a river, bay or gulf can cause substantial impacts upon the uses of such waterways, including: navigation and commerce, industry and jobs, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, regional development and redevelopment, and even long-term regional growth, taxes, revenues and governmental services. Similarly, contamination of a groundwater aquifer that is serving as a regional water supply can impact the public's use of such a resource. NRD claims deal with this very difficult and expert witness-intensive analysis and quantification, which stand at the intersection of the environment and the economy.
Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC has uncommon experience in litigating Natural Resource Damages matters. We have been retained by both trustee agencies and corporate clients to litigate, or resolve through ADR or mediation proceedings, these most complex environmental matters. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC is currently representing natural resource trustees like the State of New Jersey and the State of Louisiana on nationally significant NRD matters such as the Passaic River and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Commonwealth-wide claims for groundwater contamination.
Likewise, the firm is representing private-sector clients in significant NRD and litigation matters like the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, the Malone Superfund Site on Galveston Bay, and the Clark Fork River Basin Superfund Site. Similarly, the firm is representing the Galveston Bay Foundation on a pro bono basis in connection with the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site in Galveston Bay, Texas.