This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Addressing Policy Concerns Related to Acid Deposition

Environmental laws and regulations provide interpretations of the term "adverse ecological effects."

What precedents exist in environmental laws and regulations for determining that an adverse ecological effect has occurred?

To meet assessment mandates of the Clean Air Act Amendments, the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) draws upon more than a decade of research on the potential terrestrial and aquatic effects of acid deposition. One mandate is to assess and report to Congress on the relationship between reductions in acid deposition and the prevention of adverse ecological effects.

Effective reporting of NAPAP's findings will depend on a clear explanation and definition of "adverse ecological effects." Several interpretations of the term were found in existing environmental case law, legislation, and regulatory programs. Each interpretation provides a context and factors for assessment. Consideration of these contexts and factors is a starting point for NAPAP's interagency communications and reporting on the adverse ecological effects question.

Ramsey, W. H., P. M. O'Connell, and C. F. Baes, III. 1994. The interpretation of adverse ecological effects under various environmental statutes. Journal of Environmental Regulation. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Vol. 4, No. 2, 87-98.

Ramsey, W. H., P. M. O'Connell, J. S. Fackenthal, C. G. Heckman, and C. F. Baes, III. 1993. Regulatory and legal interpretations of adverse ecological effects. Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program.

Where To?

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.