GASB Article: Statement No. 49
GASB Article Statement No. 49
Before diving directly into the article from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) titled Governments to Report Liabilities Connected with Their Obligations to Clean Up Pollution (2006), one must first take a step back and take time to read, comprehend, and take to heart exactly what this organization stands for. Taken directly from their main web page under the tab labeled Education, the first thing seen in big, bold, blue letters is, “Due Process: The GASB Is Listening” followed by a definition of what listening means, “to hear with thoughtful attention”. When researching a little more into ...view middle of the document...
49 which help the government by providing specifics as to when they should comply with its requirements. These requirements are:
1) If the pollution poses a problem and they try very little, if at all, to fix it.
2) If a pollution permit or license is violated.
3) If a regulator can, or does, identify a problem, or potential problem, which they are, or could be responsible for.
4) If there is a judgment against them to address the pollution.
5) If the cleanup is started, or the government is forced to start, but, only reported to the amount of their legal responsibility.
Once one of these issues has been provoked, estimates are begun to get the process going as quickly as possible (para. 3). This way, the government is fully aware of the projections for the cost of cleanup before they start, rather than blindsided, by amounts that no one expected; even if they were fully aware of the upcoming liability (Para. 1).
The GASB does not expect the government entity to report an exact figure for the clean up because they are aware this information is not immediately known, they are simply asking the remediation costs to be reported sooner than previously done. This will add pollution cleanup liabilities to the financial statements in a much earlier time frame, also, requiring a note disclosure about the liability and how they are reported and the amounts which are estimated (para. 2). Even if only a small portion, if it is possible to estimate the cost outlays, then the government would utilize a probability-weighted procedure, also called the expected cash flow measurement technique, (para. 7) for reporting the liabilities to its financial statement. A piece of land being cleaned up for sale or equipment which would have another use after completion of cleanup would be recorded as a capital asset (para. 4).
When using this method, the government will layout potential cost outlays in order to determine their average. The article uses an example of this method listed below:
“A government might estimate that there is a 10 percent chance that cleaning up a polluted site would cost $1 million, a 60 percent chance of $2 million, and a 30 percent chance of $3 million. The expected cash flow would be calculated as...