Environmental Assessment Standard Just the Starting Point for Managing the Purchase of Contaminated Property

By: Peter Duchesneau
– Environmental Leader

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") adopted ASTM E1527-13, an updated Phase I environmental assessment standard for performing all appropriate inquiries to establish landowner liability protections under the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA").  This new Phase I protocol clarifies the previous standard for all appropriate inquiries, which is an important first step, but not the only one for establishing landowner liability protections.  With the adoption of ASTM E1527-13, buyers of potentially contaminated property should take the opportunity to revisit the other requirements and scope of landowner liability protections.  By doing so, prospective purchasers will not only better their chances of effectively establishing such protections, but can also better manage risks that may fall beyond them.

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