This report details the panel's findings and recommendations. The central issues examined are whether BEA's IEESA are useful for the United States and whether work on the IEESA should resume.
Chapter 2 considers the importance of integrating environmental accounts with the NIPA, and reviews alternative approaches to such accounting. The discussion includes a detailed examination of the theoretical rationale behind extending the NIPA to include all market and nonmarket economic activity.
Chapter 3 details the extension of the accounts to subsoil mineral assets, such as fossil fuels and minerals. This was the first area (beyond accounting for pollution abatement capital expenditures) in which BEA addressed environmental matters; it is an area about which Congress has expressed concern; and it provides an excellent introduction to the questions and problems associated with the IEESA.
The extension of the IEESA to renewable and other natural resources, as proposed by BEA for its Phase II effort, is covered in Chapter 4. After examining BEA's work in this area, the chapter offers two extended examples—forests and clean air—to illustrate opportunities and problems that arise in developing such accounts.
Finally, Chapter 5 presents the panel's overall appraisal of environmental accounting in the United States, as well as the panel's conclusions and recommendations.