Introduction & Background
Environmental due diligence can reveal possible hazards on a property and is typically done during a sales transaction. This due diligence can exempt you from cleanup liability for environmental contamination present on the property. In fact, most property owners strive to qualify for the Innocent Landowner Defense. The Innocent Landowner Defense is a legal defense that can be asserted to restrict a property owner’s liability for cleaning up contamination and is intended to protect those who own property aft er an impact has occurred.
Phase I ESA
Statement of Issue
In late 2005, the EPA published a standard setting federal requirements for the conduct of All Appropriate Inquiry. The new AAI Standard, which became effective in November 2006, applies to any property owner claiming protection from liability as an innocent landowner, as a bona fide prospective purchaser or as a contiguous property owner. Since November 2006, parties must comply with the requirements of the AAI Standard to be exempt from property cleanup liability.
In agreement with the development of the EPA’s AAI Standard, the ASTM E1527 was amended to be consistent and compliant with the final rule. The new ASTM E1527-05 can be used to abide by the provisions of the AAI approved Standard. Following these requirements is the only way a purchaser can ensure that they will qualify for the EPA’s Innocent Landowner Defense, restricting their liability for cleaning up contamination.