Phase I Environmental Assessments, New Rules for Forestland and Rural Property
The EPA passed a new rule effective March 14, 2018, which will allow for the specific ASTM standards for forestland and rural properties to satisfy the all appropriate inquires (“AAI”) requirement under CERCLA. Amendment to Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries Under CERCLA, FED. REG. (Sept. 15, 2017),Click Here.
This will be the first time that the EPA specifically recognizes an ASTM standard to satisfy the AAI requirement; but the rule does not require that any party use that ASTM standard for forestland or rural property, and the general ASTM standards can still be employed to satisfy the AAI requirement. The environmental professional may want to use the new standard to identify recognized environmental conditions when it is determined that the methodology of the traditional ASTM may be impractical or unnecessary due to the size or nature of the property.
Considerations for which methodology to choose include the uses of the property, environmental concerns, sources for interviews and records, and the process for site reconnaissance, as all of these may differ drastically with forestland or rural properties. The property to be assessed using the new standard need not be contiguous and may contain isolated areas of non-forestland and non-rural property. In the new rule, forestland is defined as property that is either unmanaged land or managed land where forest management principles are applied to regeneration, utilization, productivity or conservation to meet specific goals. Both managed and unmanaged forestland may have roads and limited areas of development. Rural property is defined as property having a low human population density and is under-developed or has limited areas of development.
To learn more about this new rule or other questions about Garfield & Hecht, P.C.’s due diligence practice please contact Ron Garfield (moc.t1518983847hcehd1518983847leifr1518983847ag@dl1518983847eifra1518983847G1518983847) or Chris LaCroix (moc.t1518983847hcehd1518983847leifr1518983847ag@xi1518983847orcal1518983847c1518983847) in our Aspen office or David McConaughy (moc.t1518983847hcehd1518983847leifr1518983847ag@yh1518983847guano1518983847ccmd1518983847) in our Glenwood Springs office or Kursten Canada (moc.t1518983847hcehd1518983847leifr1518983847ag@ad1518983847anack1518983847) in our Avon office .