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David Sunding has extensive consulting, research, and expert witness experience in the economics of the environment, natural resources, energy and agriculture.

He has testified in major cases before state and federal courts, regulatory bodies, and legislative committees. He has assisted corporations, utilities, the federal government, and states in developing economic testimony in environmental and natural resource litigation. Prof. Sunding played a central role in some of the most important environmental cases of the past decade, including including Deepwater Horizon, SWANCC, Rapanos and Arch Coal. He has served as an expert in interstate water resource disputes of original jurisdiction at the U.S. Supreme Court, including Kansas v. Colorado, Texas v. New Mexico and Florida v. Georgia.

Prof. Sunding has conducted expert analysis concerning a range of industries, including oil and gas exploration and production, agriculture, utilities, chemicals, manufacturing, forestry, and real estate development. In addition to his environmental expertise, he has testified in cases concerning antitrust, product liability, commercial damages and takings.

Prof. Sunding holds the Thomas J. Graff Chair of Natural Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the founding director of the Berkeley Water Center and currently serves as the chair of his department. He has won numerous awards for his research, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and private foundations.

Prior to his current position at Berkeley, Professor Sunding served as a senior economist at President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. He has been appointed to panels of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the National Academy of Sciences. He taught in the Department of Economics and the School of Law at Boston College, and as a visiting professor in the Woods Institute of the Environment at Stanford University.

Representative Engagements
Minnesota v. 3M

Working on behalf of the State of Minnesota, Dr. Sunding used statistical methods to demonstrate that chemicals previously used by 3M that had entered the state's water resources were contributing to adverse health and environmental issues in the area. Dr. Sunding testified on his analyses in depositions, and his report was released publicly in support of the State’s request for punitive damages.

Deepwater Horizon

Testified on behalf of Anadarko Petroleum, the major non-operating investor in the Macondo Well, during the civil penalty phase of the trial. Demonstrated that the deterrence objective of the Clean Water Act would not be advanced by imposing a significant penalty on a non-operator of an offshore oil and gas exploration and production facility. The court ultimately issued a $159.5 million penalty for Anadarko, which was significantly less than the minimum penalty of $1 billion sought by the federal government.

Bridgeton Landfill
Authored testimony concerning the proper calculation of natural resource damages from groundwater contamination caused by a subsurface reaction at a landfill.
Portland Harbor Superfund Site
Worked on behalf of several PRPs to assess the relative costs and benefits of several remediation options. Research involved implementation of a large fish consumption survey in the Portland metropolitan area to quantify human health risk.
Dairy Antitrust Litigation
Damages expert for a large class of purchasers of fluid and soft dairy products. Developed a statistical model to measure the price impacts of a dairy herd retirement program instituted by dairy cooperatives in 16 states, and the eventual pass-through of these wholesale impacts to final consumers.
Water Quality Standards for PCBs
Working on behalf of a large electronics manufacturer, assessed the economic costs and benefits of several remediation options, with a focus on dredging.

Testimony
Written testimony to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relating to the relicensing of the Don Pedro Project before the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
2013
Economic analysis relating to the remediation of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., The Greenbrier Companies and Vigor Industrial
2012
Oral testimony and deposition testimony in a breach of contract case on behalf of Roll International Corporation in Primex LLC v. Roll International Corporation. Before the Fresno County Superior Court, No. 10CECG01114
2012
Expert report in a fraudulent conveyance case against the State of California in Central Delta Water Agency et al. v. California Department of Water Resources. On behalf of the Kern Water Bank Authority, before the Sacramento County Superior Court, Docket No. 34-2010-80000561
2012
Oral testimony, expert report, and deposition testimony in a breach of contract case on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice in Stockton East Water District and Central San Joaquin Water District v. United States. Before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Docket No. 04-541L
2012
Oral testimony, deposition testimony, and expert report in an interstate water allocation case involving the Republican River on behalf of the Nebraska Attorney General in Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado. Before the U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 126 Original
2012
Expert report in an Endangered Species Act case involving Biological Opinions issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries on behalf of San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority in San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Locke et al. Before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Docket No. 1:09-cv-1053
2011
Prepared a report and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on EPA’s ex post veto of a Clean Water Act discharge permit. Arch Coal
2011
Oral testimony and expert report in an Endangered Species Act take case against the State of Texas on behalf of Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority in The Aransas Project v. Shaw et al. Before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Docket No. 2:10-cv-00075
2011
Prepared a report quantifying the economic impact of critical habitat designation for the spikedace and loach minnow, Freeport MacMoRan
2011
Prepared a white paper and testified before the California State Water Resources Control Board on economic analysis of once-through cooling, Southern California Edison
2010
Expert report in a case involving proposed groundwater adjudication on behalf of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California in Central Basin Municipal Water District et al. v. Water Replenishment District of Southern California. Before the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Docket No. BS132202
2010
Expert report and deposition testimony in a takings case against the United States on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice in Casitas Municipal Water District v. United States. Before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Docket No. 05-168L
2010
Deposition testimony in a product liability case on behalf of Shell Oil Company in City of Redlands v. Shell Oil Company et al. Before the San Bernardino County Superior Court, Docket No. SCVSS 120627
2009
Prepared an analysis of the impacts on oil and gas production of critical habitat designation for the polar bear. Exxon Mobil
2009
Publications
Presentation
The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages? What are the Alternatives?
September 27, 2018
Mark P. Berkman, David L. Sunding, Daniel L. McFadden, Vic Adamowicz, Loren Dunn, and James Bruen
Presented at The Brattle Group's Webinar, "The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages?"
Report
Article
Valuing Urban Water Shortages
2015
Published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Report
Optimal Recycling Policy for Used Lubricating Oil: The Case of California’s Used Oil Management Policy
September 2014
Published in Environmental and Resource Economics
Report
Review of 2014 EPA Economic Analysis of Proposed Revised Definition of Waters of the United States
May 15, 2014
Prepared for The Waters Advocacy Coalition
Article
Conserving Endangered Species through Regulation of Urban Development: The Case of California Vernal Pools
May 2014
David L. Sunding and Jonathan Terhorst
Published in Land Economics
Article
Land Markets and the Value of Water Supply: Hedonic Analysis using Panel Data
April 10, 2014
Published in the American Journal of Argicultural Economics
Article
Potential Economic Impacts of Environmental Flows Following a Potential Listing of Endangered Texas Freshwater Mussels
April 07, 2014
David L. Sunding, Brad Wolaver, Cassandra Cook, Stephen F. Hamilton, Bridget Scanlon, Michael Young, Xianli Xu, and Robert Reedy
Published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Article
The Impact of Water Price Uncertainty on the Adoption of Precision Irrigation Systems
April 01, 2014
David L. Sunding and Karina Schoengold
Published in Agricultural Economics
Article
Environmental Policy with Collective Waste Disposal
September 2013
David L. Sunding, Stephen F. Hamilton, Thomas Sproul, and David Zilberman
Published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
Report
Fish Consumption in Portland Harbor
October 23, 2012
David L. Sunding and Steven Buck
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Economic Benefits of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan
June 20, 2012
David L. Sunding, Armando Levy, and Steven Buck
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
An Optimal Policy for Recycling of Used Lubricating Oil
March 05, 2012
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
Economic Analysis of SB568’s Proposed Polystyrene Ban
June 24, 2011
Prepared for Dart Industries, Inc.
Report
Incentive Effects of EPA’s Ex Post Veto of a Clean Water Act Discharge Permit Issued to Arch Coal
May 10, 2011
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
News & Events
September 27, 2018
Brattle to Host Webinar on Methods for Determining Natural Resource Damages

Brattle invites you to join us for our upcoming webinar, “The Stated Preference Method: Is it Reliable for Determining Natural Resource Damages?” taking place Thursday, September 27th at 11am PST.

February 21, 2018
Brattle Team Contributes to $850 Million Settlement in Minnesota v. 3M

3M Co. has settled a lawsuit related to groundwater and surface water contamination with the State of Minnesota for $850 million on the day trial was set to begin. Brattle economists provided evidence on liability and assessed damages on behalf of the State of Minnesota.

June 06, 2016
David Sunding’s Research Cited in Supreme Court’s Decision in Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes

Brattle Principal David Sunding’s research was cited in a United States Supreme Court decision on Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, issued on May 31, 2016.

April 26, 2016
Report by Brattle Economists Highlights Adoption of Wireless Technology to Effectively Manage Water Use for U.S. Farmers

Brattle economists have authored a report demonstrating the potential of wireless technology to not only help U.S. farmers more efficiently manage water use, but to also add substantial value to the agricultural industry.

March 31, 2016
David Sunding’s Research Cited in Arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States

Brattle Principal David Sunding’s research was cited in arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Wednesday, March 31, 2016.

December 03, 2015
Testimony by David Sunding Contributes to Significant Win for Anadarko in Deepwater Horizon Penalty Phase

David Sunding, a principal of The Brattle Group and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, provided expert testimony on behalf of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in the recently concluded penalty phase stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

February 25, 2015
David Sunding Provides Expert Testimony in Supreme Court Water Rights Case

Brattle principal David Sunding recently served as the damages expert for the state of Nebraska in the U.S. Supreme Court case, State of Kansas v. State of Nebraska and State of Colorado, in which Kansas sought more than $80 million in damages from Nebraska for taking more than its share of water from the Republican River Basin.

Personal Interests

An avid mountain biker, Dave lives in Marin County with his wife and two daughters.