Closing the liability gap: A review of liability alternatives in environmental regulation for the emerging seafloor mineral extraction industry

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Date

2016-04-27

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Hoyt, Sarah

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Van Dover, Cindy

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Abstract

The potential for vast mineral wealth on the seafloor has led to the emergence of commercial interest in recent decades. A critical barrier to seafloor mineral development has been the lack of regulatory regime for commercial exploitation, which would address how mining entities are to monitor or be monitored, manage or be managed, and compensate for potential adverse environmental impacts. Seafloor minerals that occur in the area beyond national jurisdiction (the Area) are governed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The ISA and stakeholders recognize that unknown impacts and even unknown consequences of foreseen impacts to the seabed and pelagic ecosystems may present an environmental liability gap, which may unnecessarily increase environmental risk exposure to the ISA. This paper presents an analysis in an effort to support the ISA in its work to minimize the potential for a liability gap in seafloor mineral exploitation in the Area. It develops a structured review of regulatory alternatives, bonds and insurance, that have been implemented in established industries that exhibit similar operational and liability characteristics to seafloor mineral extraction, and offers a decision pathway to support ISA efforts to reduce environmental risk exposure.

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Hoyt, Sarah (2016). Closing the liability gap: A review of liability alternatives in environmental regulation for the emerging seafloor mineral extraction industry. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11881.


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