(1) The department shall adopt rules establishing a formal process for preassessment screening of damages resulting from spills to the waters of the state causing the death of, or injury to, fish, animals, vegetation, or other resources of the state. The rules shall specify the conditions under which the department shall convene a preassessment screening committee. The preassessment screening process shall occur concurrently with reconnaissance activities. The committee shall use information obtained from reconnaissance activities as well as any other relevant resource and resource use information. For each incident, the committee shall determine whether a damage assessment investigation should be conducted, or, whether the compensation schedule authorized under RCW 90.48.366
should be used to assess damages. The committee may accept restoration or enhancement projects or studies proposed by the liable parties in lieu of some or all of: (a) The compensation schedule authorized under RCW 90.48.366
; or (b) the claims from damage assessment studies authorized under RCW 90.48.142
(2) A preassessment screening committee may consist of representatives of the departments of ecology, archaeology and historic preservation, fish and wildlife, health, and natural resources, and the parks and recreation commission, as well as other federal, state, and local agencies, and tribal and local governments whose presence would enhance the reconnaissance or damage assessment aspects of spill response. The department shall chair the committee and determine which representatives will be needed on a spill-by-spill basis.
(3) The committee shall consider the following factors when determining whether a damage assessment study authorized under RCW 90.48.367
should be conducted: (a) Whether evidence from reconnaissance investigations suggests that injury has occurred or is likely to occur to publicly owned resources; (b) the potential loss in services provided by resources injured or likely to be injured and the expected value of the potential loss; (c) whether a restoration project to return lost services is technically feasible; (d) the accuracy of damage quantification methods that could be used and the anticipated cost-effectiveness of applying each method; (e) the extent to which likely injury to resources can be verified with available quantification methods; and (f) whether the injury, once quantified, can be translated into monetary values with sufficient precision or accuracy.
(4) When a resource damage assessment is required for an oil spill in the waters of the state, as defined in RCW 90.56.010
, the state trustee agency responsible for the resource and habitat damaged shall conduct the damage assessment and pursue all appropriate remedies with the responsible party.
(5) Oil spill damage assessment studies authorized under RCW 90.48.367
may only be conducted if the committee, after considering the factors enumerated in subsection (3) of this section, determines that the damages to be investigated are quantifiable at a reasonable cost and that proposed assessment studies are clearly linked to quantification of the damages incurred.
(6) As new information becomes available, the committee may reevaluate the scope of damage assessment using the factors listed in subsection (3) of this section and may reduce or expand the scope of damage assessment as appropriate.
(7) The preassessment screening process shall provide for the ongoing involvement of persons who may be liable for damages resulting from an oil spill. The department may negotiate with a potentially liable party to perform restoration and enhancement projects or studies which may substitute for all or part of the compensation authorized under RCW 90.48.366
or the damage assessment studies authorized under RCW 90.48.367
(8) For the purposes of this section and RCW 90.48.367
, the cost of a damage assessment shall be considered "reasonable" when the anticipated cost of the damage assessment is expected to be less than the anticipated damage that may have occurred or may occur.