Net environmental benefits are the gains in environmental services or other ecological properties attained by remediation or ecological restoration, minus the environmental injuries caused by those actions. A net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) is a methodology for comparing and ranking the net environmental benefit associated with multiple management alternatives. A NEBA for chemically contaminated sites typically involves the comparison of the following management alternatives: (1) leaving contamination in place; (2) physically, chemically, or biologically remediating the site through traditional means; (3) improving ecological value through onsite and offsite restoration alternatives that do not directly focus on removal of chemical contamination or (4) a combination of those alternatives. NEBA involves activities that are common to remedial alternatives analysis for state regulations and the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act, response actions under the Oil Pollution Act; compensatory restoration actions under Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and proactive land management actions that do not occur in response to regulations: i.e., valuing ecological services or other ecological properties, assessing adverse impacts, and evaluating restoration options. This paper provides a framework for NEBA, with special application to petroleum spills in terrestrial and wetland environments. A high-level framework for NEBA is presented, with sub-frameworks for natural attenuation (the contaminated reference state), remediation, and ecological restoration alternatives. Primary information gaps related to NEBA include: non-monetary valuation methods, exposure-response models for all stressors, the temporal dynamics of ecological recovery, and optimal strategies for ecological restoration.
A Framework for Net Environmental Benefit Analysis for Remediation or Restoration of Petroleum-Contaminated Sites
Title: A Framework for Net Environmental Benefit Analysis for Remediation or Restoration of Petroleum-Contaminated Sites
January 01, 2003
Document Number: ORNL/TM-2003/17
Efroymson, R.; Nicolette, J.; Suter II, G. (2003). A Framework for Net Environmental Benefit Analysis for Remediation or Restoration of Petroleum-Contaminated Sites. Report by CH2M Hill, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). pp 51.