RCF experts helped pioneer the multidisciplinary analysis of the benefits and costs of activities affecting the environment and have extensive experience in direct and indirect damage estimation utilizing methodologies such as contingent valuation, hedonic estimation, travel cost measurements, and input-output analysis. RCF has participated extensively in environmental regulatory proceedings and litigation. RCF is also able to offer clients planning support for compliance with developmental, zoning, and planning regulation from an environmental perspective. This service has been very useful to clients in formulating long-term policy, as well as settling disputes during litigation.
Environmental Economics Experience
Climate Change and Land Use
Urban Land Institute (ULI), 2009
RCF co-authored ULI’s first-of-its-kind report on the combined issues of climate change, land use, and energy. The report examined the role of land use and real estate in dealing with climate change and energy use in the United States and worldwide. Topics included the effects of investment practices on sustainable development in the economic downturn and on long-term risks and rewards in the real estate investment community.
Local Economic Effects of Impaired Recreation Water Quality: Summary Report on Great Lakes
International Joint Commission, 2008
RCF summarized existing economic estimates related to beach and recreation water quality to provide guidance for evaluating the economic benefits from clean and safe Great Lakes beaches and water quality. RCF found significant values related to recreation uses, property values and human health associated with Great Lakes water quality. The report provides information for conducting economic analyses and producing benefit transfers estimates for benefits associated with Great Lakes protection and restoration.
Local Great Lakes Restoration Financing and Policy: A Resource Guide for Identifying and Measuring Economic Benefits
Alliance for the Great Lakes, 2008
RCF produced a guide to the measurement of economic benefits from local community-based environmental protection and restoration. This included discussion of economic estimates, methodology for primary data collection and analysis and a step-by-step guide for conducting economic impact assessments, and benefit transfer and meta-analyses for evaluating economic benefits from local policy measures. The guide also provided a set of resources for identifying local financing and implementation strategies. The report was used to add an economic component to the Alliance’s overall strategy for identifying, assessing, financing and implementing Great Lakes protection and restoration projects.
Regulatory Impact Analysis of EPA Proposed Ozone Standard for Houston Area
Baker Botts, L.L.P., 2007
On behalf of the Houston 8-Hour Coalition, RCF analyzed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of its proposed new ozone standard, RCF’s analysis focused on the RIA’s assessment of how the new standard would affect the Greater Houston Metropolitan Region. RCF’s report was used by the 8-Hour Coalition in the public hearing on the proposal.
Economic Impact of Oil Field Development in Saudi Arabia
King Fahd University/Saudi Aramco, 2006
For the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, RCF estimated the economic impacts of a causeway construction and dredging for oil field development in Manifa Bay in the Saudi Arabian Gulf. RCF provided an assessment of the impacts of the development on the commercial fishing industry in the Manifa region and the subsequent employment effects on the Saudi economy.
Management Planning for Species Preservation
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission/Escambia County, 2005
RCF’s staff and ecological consultants assisted a unique consortium of three public agencies in Florida-the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Escambia County in the development of a business plan for preserving an endangered species on Perdido Key, just west of Pensacola, which is an area of intense condominium development. The agencies specified the preservation activities in a conservation plan, and RCF estimated their implementation costs over a 100-year period and calculated the values of contributions to a preservation fund that would pay for the program.
Recreational Benefit Estimation
The University of Chicago, 2005
Researchers at RCF designed and implemented a large-scale survey of Chicago beach goers to determine the economic value of spending a day at the beach. Using several non-market valuation methods, the study determined the value of a day at the beach and the total seasonal value of the beaches to beach goers. The study also assessed the economic loss associated with the increasing number of swimming bans.
Impacts of Environmental Policy on the Competitiveness of Nuclear Power
U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 2003‐2004
RCF conducted a major study of the economic future of nuclear power in the United States for the Undersecretary of Energy in 2003. The baseline comparison of the assessment was the generation costs of new nuclear reactor designs relative to the generation costs of coal-and gas-fired generation with current environmental regulations. An alternative comparison added the costs of carbon sequestration to the generation costs of fossil generation.
Least-Cost Implementation of Air Quality Standards
Greater Houston partnership, 2000‐2001
RCF conducted a study for the Greater Houston Partnership on how the City of Houston could comply with the Clean Air Act in view of its reputation as having high levels of air pollution. The study examined the costs and benefits of the proposed state implementation plan (SIP) for reducing air pollution, and short-run and long-run impacts of the SIP on the Houston area economy. RCF proposed an alternative SIP program, eliminating high cost measures that achieve little reduction, and provided for emissions trading and market incentives to promote least cost reductions. The study was instrumental in changing the final plan.
Impact of Environmental Disamenities on Property Values
Prairie Crossing, 2000
RCF identified $150-$200 million in property value losses and foregone tax revenue from property value losses caused by the proposed location of a peaking combustion turbine energy facility in Libertyville, Illinois.
George S. Tolley, Presentation/Publication, 1996
RCF analyzed gains and losses from emissions trading programs designed to reduce the cost of environmental regulation. Fourteen slippage factors that reduced the economic benefits of emissions trading were identified. Methods of correcting the slippage factors were suggested. The results of this approach appeared in Market Based Approaches to Environmental Policy, University of Illinois Press, 1996.
Economic Feasibility of Remediation
Lewis & Clark, 1995
In a case which tested amendments to Wisconsin environmental law, RCF examined the economic feasibility of remediation options in a case involving chromium contamination. In light of requirements that economic feasibility considerations be included in environmental remediation decisions, RCF compared reductions in exposure under proposed remediation alternatives with their costs. RCF found that moderate levels of remediation satisfied economic feasibility requirements, which resulted in a favorable settlement.
Economic Costs of Ozone
City of Chicago, 1993
RCF analyzed the effects of urban smog in the Chicago metropolitan area on human health and physical structures. The damage estimates RCF produced were compared to costs of reducing ozone emissions precursors. The study compared the costs of several policy options to bring Chicago into Clean Air Act attainment for ambient air quality standards. This study was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, as part of Cost Effective Control of Urban Smog, 1993.
RCF estimated damages to a feed manufacturer whose property was contaminated by leakage of underground storage tanks from a neighboring gasoline station. To estimate the feed company’s loss in sales, RCF examined stigma-induced reductions in sales for products involved in similar incidents including Perrier bottled water, Washington apples sprayed with Alar, Chilean grapes, and the Audi 5000. A favorable settlement was reached in the case.
Costs to Coal Industry of Clean Air Regulations
National Coal Conference, circa 1990
For the National Coal Conference, RCF analyzed the costs to industry of federal clean air legislation, focusing on control of acid rain.
Cost of Delay of Compliance
Covington and Burling, 1989
RCF estimated the financial implications to J.T. Baker Company (a subsidiary of Proctor & Gamble) of different starting dates for implementation of environmental control measures in New Jersey. This study included calculation of the time cost of money, the cost of inflation, and the cost of capital. RCF economists also provided expert testimony for the adjudication process. The ruling was in favor of the estimates provided by RCF.
Location of Nuclear Waste Sites
U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Lab, 1989
For the U.S. Department of Energy, RCF studied the socioeconomic impacts expected from location of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. To assess proposed waste storage siting, the study evaluated different means of measuring risk perception and risk response behavior. RCF also evaluated the consequences for the Nevada economy of storing nuclear waste.
Economic Impacts of Environmental Regulation
Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, 1980‐1985
RCF has carried out economic impact studies for the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources and has frequently presented testimony before the Illinois Pollution Control Board on a number of environmental regulation issues. The studies used a multidisciplinary approach involving cost of control estimation, air quality modeling, environmental damage assessment and local economic multipliers. Subjects included:
• Economic Development and Air Quality in the City of Chicago
• Reasonably Available Control Technologies (RACT) for Air Quality Regulation in
the State of Illinois
• Alternative Air Pollution Control Strategies
• Costs and Benefits of Location Restrictions on Hazardous Waste Landfills
• Economic Impacts of Proposed Atomic Radiation Regulations
• Financial Assurance for Closure of Waste Disposal Sites
Cost of NOx Regulation
American Petroleum Institute, circa 1982
RCF estimated the national costs of a short-term NOx control program for the American Petroleum Institute. RCF economists also developed techniques for estimating the benefits and costs of air pollution control based on the analysis of impacts to affected industries.
Location of Hazardous Waste Landfills
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, circa 1980
For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RCF developed a methodology for assessing the costs and benefits of alternative locations for hazardous waste landfills, taking account of risks. Factors evaluated included population density, frequency of earthquakes and floods, soil permeability, and haulage distance.
Environmental Benefit Estimation
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, circa 1980
For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RCF reviewed and critiqued methods of estimating benefits from controlling air and water pollution.
Benefits and Costs of Improved Visibility
Energy Impact Associates, 1980
In response to the Clean Air Act of 1977, RCF studied the costs and benefits of controls on fine particulates resulting from the emission of sulfur dioxide and smog-like aerosols related to nitrogen dioxide. Methods of valuation, types of costs, and income distribution impacts were reviewed.
Environmental Costs of Coal in the Production of Electricity
George S. Tolley, ORSA/TIMS Conference Presentation, 1978
George S. Tolley examined the spatial impacts of increased air pollution from requiring the use of coal-fired boilers in the United States. Effects of pollution on health and property were estimated and ranked.