Violations of federal and state environmental laws and regulations often lead to damage claims including business loss, property value diminution, clean-up costs, mitigation costs, human health effects, and natural resource losses. Members of The Brattle Group have substantial experience calculating accurate and supportable environmental damage estimates.
We apply methods that reflect the most current economic thinking and withstand legal scrutiny. Our experts perform appropriate penalty calculations, advise on settlement strategies, and provide expert testimony on economic and technical issues. In addition, we are familiar with models and methods employed by the government including the EPA’s BEN model.
A water treatment facility accidently released untreated water in a major water body. A lawsuit was brought against the facility operator calling for substantial penalties based on an application of the EPA’s BEN model. The Brattle Group undertook a critical review of the model application and pointed out serious limitations of the model to determine an economically efficient outcome where penalties reflect the actual environmental damage incurred. The facility’s penalties were modest by comparison to those proposed by the lawsuit.
Alleged activities of a number of defense contractors had led to the contamination of a large well field with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The municipality claimed damages equal to the costs of obtaining water while the well field was out of service plus the cost of hooking up to, and obtaining water from, another source on a permanent basis. In investigating the plaintiff's damage claim, we found that the design of the treatment plant was not adequate to treat the amounts of iron and manganese that were naturally occurring in the groundwater. The total cost of modifying the treatment plant was far less than the costs to change the water source and, therefore, provided the proper basis for a damage estimate. This case was resolved through mediation, and our presentation was instrumental in persuading the mediator that the town's position was not reasonable.
We investigated allegations that the contamination of an aquifer in New Mexico has caused more than $1 billion in natural resource damages. We investigated the value of water and water storage and the impact that the loss of the aquifer had on the costs incurred by the affected city to supply water.
The Critical Role of Transmission in Clean Power Plan Compliance
September 28, 2015
Presented at the Transmission Summit West 2015