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Significance and Use
Use—The standard is intended for use on a voluntary basis by an estimator of costs and liabilities for environmental matters. The user may elect to apply this standard for any or all uses outlined in the Purpose. Application of this standard for one use does not compel application of the standard for all or any other use.
Principles—The following principles are an integral part of this standard and should be used to resolve ambiguity or dispute regarding the interpretation of estimated costs and liabilities for environmental matters.
Uncertainty Not Eliminated—Even though an estimate of costs and liabilities for environmental matters is prepared in accordance with this standard, uncertainty remains with regard to, among other things, the resolution of contractual, technological, regulatory, legislative, and judicial issues, which could affect the costs and liabilities.
Periodic Review of Assumptions and Estimates—Assumptions underlying these estimates should be reviewed periodically for the purpose of incorporating additional information that may become available. For example, changes in regulatory requirements, technology, property use, inflation, or other issues may affect the basis for the estimates, therefore necessitating revisions.
Comparison with Subsequent Estimates—Subsequent estimates based on additional information should not be construed as indicating the prior estimates of costs and liabilities for environmental matters were unreasonable at the time they were made. Estimates should be evaluated on the reasonableness of analyses and judgments made at the time and under the circumstances in which they were made. Subsequent improvements in estimates should be made as more information becomes available, but these improved estimates should not be considered valid standards on which to measure the reasonableness of a prior estimate based on hindsight, new information, use of developing analytical techniques, or other factors. However, information on trends in estimates over time may be of value to a user of financial statements or other users of the cost and liability estimates. Any comparison should recognize the reasons the estimates were performed, whether they were accomplished under the standard and any differences in technique in the application of the standard.
Not Exhaustive—Estimation of costs and liabilities for environmental matters does not necessarily require an exhaustive evaluation of all possible outcomes. A point exists at which the cost of obtaining information or the time required to gather it outweighs improvement in the quality of the estimate.
Assessment of Risk—The actual or potential risk to human health and the environment should be considered in assessing environmental matters. The degree of risk should be a factor in developing the cost and liability estimates associated with those matters.
Estimator Selection—An appropriate estimator or group of estimators will consist of those individuals or groups who possess sufficient knowledge, training, and experience to develop appropriate estimates for the costs and liabilities being estimated. It is the responsibility of the entity sponsoring the cost and liability estimates to select an estimator with the appropriate level of knowledge, training, and experience for the parts of the estimation effort for which that estimator is responsible.
1.1 Purpose—The purpose of this document is to provide a standard guide for estimating costs and liabilities for environmental matters. Many possible uses for estimates of costs and liabilities for environmental matters exist, including but not limited to business decision making, communications and negotiations involving change of property ownership, regulatory requirements, third-party lawsuits, insurance premium calculation and claim settlement, change of property use, revitalization, compliance planning, construction, analysis of remedial alternatives, budgeting, strategic planning, financing, and investment analysis by shareholders. The use of estimated costs and liabilities developed in accordance with this standard may be subject to other standards applicable to the matter involved. For example, it is not intended to supersede accounting and actuarial standards including those by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. This standard does not address the establishment of reserves or disclosure requirements.
1.2 Objectives—The objective of this standard is to provide guidance on approaches for estimating costs and liabilities for environmental matters.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
E1527 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process
E1739 Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action Applied at Petroleum Release Sites
E2081 Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action
E2091 Guide for Use of Activity and Use Limitations, Including Institutional and Engineering Controls
E2205 Guide for Risk-Based Corrective Action for Protection of Ecological Resources
E2345 Practice for Investigating Electrical Incidents
Other DocumentEPAOSWERDirective961 Concerning Use of Risk-Based Decision Making, 1995 Available from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460.
ICS Number Code 13.020.99 (Other standards related to environmental protection)