Yesterday, the EPA published for comment notice of its intent to amend the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule,” 40 CFR part 312, to remove references to ASTM E1527-05 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Assessment Process (“2005 ASTM Standard”). The Rule currently recognizes compliance with the 2005 ASTM standard as satisfying the Rule. Comments must be received within 30 days of publication of the notice.
The ASTM amended the 2005 ASTM Standard in 2013. EPA initially proposed that both the 2005 and 2013 ASTM Standards were compliant with the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule. After receiving comments expressing concern that recognizing both standards would create confusion, EPA published a final regulation at 78 FR 79319 (December 30, 2013), providing that the 2013 standard was compliant, and indicating that EPA would later publish a proposed amendment to remove the reference to the 2005 ASTM Standard. The proposed amendment will go into effect one year after publication of the final rule. In its notice, EPA stated that for property transactions completed before the effective date of the proposed amendment, compliance with ASTM E1527-05 will still satisfy the All Appropriate Inquiries Rule.