This case introduces students to the topic of contingent liabilities by examining the actual management decisions of two energy companies facing increased regulatory scrutiny over the environmental risks associated with coal ash. The case learning objectives include (1) researching and summarizing the guidance governing the recognition and disclosure of contingent liabilities; (2) critically assessing a company's decisions regarding the recognition and disclosure of environmental liabilities; (3) accounting for asset retirement obligations; and (4) articulating the ethical implications of a company's management and disclosure of environmental risks from the perspectives of various stakeholders. The case is designed for use in an intermediate accounting course at the undergraduate level. Students reported improvement in their knowledge and comprehension of contingent liabilities and their appreciation for the ethical implications of accounting decisions. Students also noted that they enjoyed discussing these issues in the context of real companies facing complex environmental challenges.

You do not currently have access to this content.