Following through on a December 2013 announcement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is deleting the 2005 ASTM Phase I standard for use by purchasers of real property in satisfying the federal “all appropriate inquiries” (AAI) requirements. These AAI requirements are critical to the innocent purchaser, bona fide prospective purchaser and contiguous landowner defenses to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Published as a final rule in the October 6, 2014, Federal Register and effective October 6, 2015, the E1527-05 standard will be deleted from the list of approved due diligence options. This means that most Phase I environmental site assessments will be completed following the newer E1527-13 standard, although purchasers of rural and forestland property do have the option of using Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property (E2247-08).
For more detailed background on this development and comparison of new and old standards, please see our November 2013 summary and our June 2014 alert covering the proposed deletion, or contact one of the authors.