SIXTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
ity in respect of acts of pollution and abuse of natural resources in contravention of the provisions of general environmental legis- lation instituting comprehensive environ- mental management regimes. Legislation on extraction of petroleum from the conti- nental shelf expressly provides that any resulting pollution causing loss, damage or injury gives rise to the "absolute liability" of the operator licensee or lessee. There are numerous opportunities for civil action against the state in respect of harm done to the environment within the boundaries of private property in consequence of state action, even if such action was intended to protect the environment. And statutory incorporation of the International Convention on Civil Liability For Oil Pollution Damage 1992 and the companion International Convention on the Establishment of An International Fund For Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 allow for recovery of "any damage" suffered as a result of an oil spillage. Whether Caribbean courts will take the statutory provisions at face value and import recovery for pure ecological harm is anybody’s guess.
c. Civil Awards In Criminal Proceedings
Before leaving the possibilities of civil awards, note should be taken that many environmental statutes allow the judi- cial award of compensatory damages in criminal proceedings. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1992 of Belize, where an offender has been con- victed of an offence under the Act, the Court may, at the time of passing sentence and application of the person aggrieved, order the offender to pay compensatory damages to that person. The amount awarded is by way of satisfaction or com- pensation for loss of or damage to property suffered by the applicant as a result of the commission of the environmental offence.
The imposition of administrative assessment is often a preferable alterna- tive to both the criminal process and the imposition of administrative penalties. As we have seen, environmental agencies in many jurisdictions have used powers of permitting and licensing to achieve broadly similar objectives. Only in Trinidad and Tobago, however, is there express statuto- ry power to impose administrative assess- ment for conduct causing environmental harm. Here administrative civil assess- ments may be made directly by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) or the Environmental Commission (EC) as part and parcel of the wider regime for compliance and enforcement. The assessments follow the service of an Administrative Order, which specifies the details of the environmental offence. The Order may direct remedial work, investiga- tions and monitoring work to be undertaken by the person responsible for the violation. The assessment may take account of com- pensation for costs incurred by the Authority to respond to environmental con- ditions created by the violation of environ- mental rules, and compensation for dam- ages to the environment associated with public lands. The assessment may also take account of any economic benefit or amount saved by a person through failure to comply with applicable environmental requirements. In determining this benefit account shall be taken of the nature, cir- cumstances and gravity of the violation; any history of prior violations and any good faith efforts to co-operate with the Authority.
Economic instruments are increas- ingly being used to discourage bad envi- ronmental conduct and to reward environ- mentally friendly behavior by internalizing the environmental cost of environment- related practices. The theory is that con-