Corporate and Real Estate Transactions

Remedial Program Reform Proposals for EPA Administrator Pruitt

Regulatory reform is at the centerpiece of the Trump Administration’s plan to stimulate economic growth. During the presidential campaign, candidate Trump vowed to rollback a variety of Obama Administration Climate Change Initiatives but said little about EPA remedial programs such as the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or superfund). Based on …

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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

The collective wit and wisdom from three decades of practicing environmental law (in no order of importance). 1.Thou shall not call the environmental lawyer the day before the closing 2. Thou shall not accept without further inquiry a Phase 1 reports that says there are no RECs 3. Thou shall be concerned when the Phase …

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Court Dismisses Action Against DEC For Breach of VCA

A 20-year old voluntary cleanup agreement (VCA) was the subject of the dispute before the New York Court of Claims in Alaskan Oil, Inc., v. State of New York, Claim No. 116072 Motion No. CM-81863 (Ct. Claims 7/25/16). In this case, claimant Alaskan Oil Inc. acquired approximately 40 properties owned by Parrish Energy Fuels, Inc., …

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NY Court of Appeals Finds PRP Letter Triggers Contractual Indemnification

The New York State Court of Appeals held that a PRP letter issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was sufficient to trigger an indemnity obligation under a purchase and sale agreement. While lower courts have found PRP letters to constitute “suits” within the meaning of  a Comprehensive General Liability policy …

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Principal New York State Environmental Laws Impacting Commercial Leasing Transactions

Parties to commercial leasing transactions frequently overlook environmental issues because they believe that tenants who do not use large quantities of hazardous chemicals will not be exposed to significant environmental liability. Consequently, the parties may do little to no environmental due diligence and use obsolete or boilerplate lease provision that do not specifically allocate environmental …

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Lender that Sold Contaminated Property Agrees to $1.4MM Settlement

We have previously reported on instances where banks have incurred cleanup costs in connection with properties they have sold.  For some examples, click here, here, here, here and here The latest installment of this saga involves Bank of America (BOA) which agreed to pay $1.4MM as part of a settlement involving a dry cleaner property that a …

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Do Clients Have To Complete Consultant Questionnaires To Comply With AAI?

The short answer is no. Environmental consultants routinely submit environmental questionnaires to property owners and their clients as part of the phase 1 process. Some consultants tell their clients that they are obligated to complete the questionnaire to be able to comply with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (“AAI”) rule. A few go as far as …

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Does A Phase 1 Have To Be Issued To The Person Seeking To Comply With AAI?

Purchasers who want to be able to assert the CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP), Innocent Landowner (ILO) or Continuous Property Owner (CPO) landowner liability protections (LLPs) need to conduct a pre-acquisition investigation that complies with EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule. A question that is surfacing with surprising frequency is if the phase 1 …

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Bankruptcy Courts Rules Bank May Not Seek Cost Recovery for Contaminated Site Purchased in Auction Sale

Pete Seeger’s popular song from the 1960s “Where have all the Flowers Gone?” has the haunting recurring lyrics “When will they ever learn”. This song came to mind when we came across another case of a bank taking title to contaminated property without doing any environmental due diligence. In this case, Suburban Bank and Trust …

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