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How Historical Research Can Support Environmental Litigation

River and Harbor InvestigationsHistory Associates has helped a number of clients research and document the industrial development of river basins, waterways, and harbors in order to identify potentially responsible parties in environmental cost recovery actions, address Natural Resource Damage claims, and support other environmental litigation matters.

In one environmental research project investigating an East Coast river basin, History Associates utilized database technology to link digital images of nineteenth- and twentieth-century documents with abstracted information pertaining to industrial operations, waste disposal practices, and corporate succession.

We also produced digital historical maps connecting documentary evidence to changes over time in the basin’s industrial geography. The client subsequently used this data and information management system to identify other potentially responsible parties for river contamination.

For a West Coast harbor case, History Associates’ environmental research collected documentation of historical Corps of Engineers dredging and filling activities. With this documentation, we worked closely with environmental consultants and attorneys to demonstrate that certain contaminated sediments could not be linked to a particular company’s operations.

In other investigations, we have traced the development of complex ocean outfall sanitation systems, gathered historical agricultural runoff, river flow, and water quality data, and uncovered evidence from contemporary literature that successfully established the historical baseline condition of rivers and harbors and documented changes in them over time.

Note: Although the confidential nature of our work precludes detailed descriptions of specific projects, we will be happy to provide relevant references upon request. Call us at (301) 279-9697 or contact History Associates.

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