On October 6, 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an amendment to its All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) rule, stating that ASTM E-1527-05, the due diligence standard issued in 2005, is no longer adequate to establish landowner and lender liability protections under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a statute that imposes joint and several liability for releases of hazardous substances. Environmental assessments must now be conducted under the newer due diligence standard, ASTM E-1527-13.
AAI is the process of evaluating environmental conditions on and around property and is typically conducted prior to the transfer of real estate. As we previously reported, EPA’s former position was that either ASTM standard satisfied AAI. EPA received adverse comments to the acceptance of either ASTM standard and, in response, determined that the 2013 standard must be used to satisfy AAI.
The amendment is effective next year, on October 6, 2015.