CERCLA

Expect Adverse Comments as EPA Drops Ball on ASTM Recognition

In our prior blog, we announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) would publish a proposed rule and direct final rule proposing to amend and amending the All Appropriate Inquiries rule (“AAI”)  to reference the revised ASTM E1527-21 ‘‘Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process’’ (“E1527-21”) and allowing it to …

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New Phase 1 Standard is Approved by ASTM Governing Body!

The ASTM E1527-21 is now official! It was approved  on November 1st after three years of development. I served as the co-chair of the legal sub-committee. Among the changes: Key terminology revisions: The terms “Recognized Environmental Condition” (REC); “Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition” (CREC); and “Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (HREC) have been strengthened to reduce misclassifications of …

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Continuing to Struggle with CERCLA liability, the 7th Circuit Holds that a Phase 2 ESA Satisfies AAI

The Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has long struggled with interpreting the scope of CERCLA liability, often issuing poorly-reasoned and inconsistent decisions. This trend continued with its recent opinion in Von Duprin vs Moran Electric Service, Inc., et al,  2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 26726 (7th Cir. 9/3/2021) where the court issued a number …

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Property Owner Fails to Qualify as BFPP Because Phase 1 Did Not Contain EP Certification

A property owner failed in its bid to qualify as a CERCLA bona fide prospective purchaser because its phase 1 did not contain the environmental professional certification required by the section 40 C.F.R. § 312.21(d) of EPA’s All Appropriate Inquires (AAI) rule. In Von Duprin LLC v. Major Holdings, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 26726 (7th …

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EPA PFAS Action Plan will bring back the fun in Superfund

Last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its Action Plan  to address concerns about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) which have increasingly being detected in drinking water systems. The action plan has the potential to significantly increase liability for manufacturers and users of products containing or treated with these compounds.. …

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Should Consultants Use ASTM E1527-13 Prior to EPA Recognition?

On November 6th, ASTM announced that it has published its E1527-13 Phase 1 Standard for Environmental Site Assessments. Upon publication of a new ASTM standard, the prior version becomes obsolete. In a normal transition, environmental consultants would transition to using the new E1527 version like they did with the E1527-94, E1527-97 and E1527-00. However, this is not …

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Obamacare Survives But Will CERCLA or RCRA?

A majority of justices found that the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act violated the Commerce Clause  of the U.S. Constitution in National Federation of Independent Businesses v Sebelius. The Commerce Clause is the underpinning for the jurisdiction of the federal government to enact and enforce environmental laws such as CERCLA and RCRA. Thus, …

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Environmental Liability and “Fractional” Property Interests

Last week, we discussed due diligence for transactions involving purchases of equity interests in entities that own property that are in technical default of the mortgages. This post discusses potential environmental liability for fractional ownership interests in the underlying property. First year saw students are taught in Real Property Class that property ownership consists of …

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Owner Incurs $1MM On Cleanup But Ct Says No “Due Care”-Owner Waited Too Long to Act

The second our series of recent cases involving the due care element of the CERCLA third party defense is State of New York v Adamowicz, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102988 (E.D.N.Y. 9/13/11) where a property owner was unable to establish that it exercised due care despite spending over $1MM addressing environmental concerns at its site. …

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Reports of the Demise of CERCLA “Arranger” Liability Proving to Be Premature

In Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United States, 129 S.Ct. 1870 (2009), the United States Supreme Court held that to establish that a defendant is a CERCLA “arranger” or generator under § 9607(a)(3), a plaintiff must  establish that the defendant intended to dispose hazardous substance. The court said that while an entity’s knowledge that a product …

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