News & Analysis as of

Updated Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard Approved - Key to Sound Due Diligence

A new Phase I environmental site assessment standard has been approved for use in 2014, providing the most current set of environmental site assessment practices for real estate and many M & A transactions. The new Phase I...more

The New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Saga Continues

To supplement our prior blog posts with respect to this issue, on December 30, 2013, the USEPA published a final rule (“Final Rule”) adopting the ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments, Phase I...more

The Emerging Non-Expansive View of CERCLA Liability: The Decline of Tanglewood East

The specter of environmental harm used to frighten courts and spawned a generation of decisions extending Superfund liability to virtually any party with a nexus to a site that was contaminated. One case that signaled just...more

Revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard Issued

On November 6, 2013, ASTM International issued its revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard, E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” Perhaps...more

EPA Calls for New “Completion Strategies” at Contaminated Groundwater Sites

October 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its draft “Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy – Moving Forward with Completion in Mind,” which would establish a recommended strategy for an adaptive...more

Be Careful What You Look For: EPA Updates “All Appropriate Inquiries” Environmental Diligence Standard

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) amended its “All Appropriate Inquiries” rule, which sets out the standard for environmental due diligence in commercial and industrial property...more

EPA Recognizes New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in Real Estate Transactions

Effective December 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended its regulations for site assessments in real estate transactions to add a new standard, ASTM E1527-13, as satisfying the agency’s requirements...more

EPA Announces Approval of New Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, effective immediately, it was amending the rule impacting the type of due diligence necessary to avoid Superfund liability as a prospective...more

EPA Amends All Appropriate Inquiries Rule To Clarify Best Practices

The EPA has amended its "All Appropriate Inquiries" Rule (AAI Rule) to reference the recently published ASTM International E1527–13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment...more

EPA Adopts Updated Standards And Practices For Environmental Site Assessments; Forthcoming Proposed Rule Will No Longer Accept...

On December 30, 2013, EPA published a Final Rule providing that a prospective purchaser or tenant of contaminated property may use ASTM International’s recently updated version of its standard for environmental site...more

CERCLA’s Broad Sweep of Liability For Owners

Some decisions are valuable not because they make new law but because they reaffirm well known principles of law. City of Banning v. Dureau is one such decision. There, a federal district court in California ruled that an...more

Buyers Beware! New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Issued

The price of environmental due diligence for commercial real estate transactions just went up. On November 6, 2013, the ASTM International announced the issuance of E1527-13, which is the updated standard practice for Phase I...more

Digging in the Dirt? Allocating Environmental Liability in Real Estate Transactions

While adverse environmental conditions may be unavoidable, appropriate due diligence can help both real estate buyers and sellers avoid a liability mess. The conveyance of commercial or industrial real estate often...more

CERCLA, RCRA, and Vapor Intrusion: Does What Happens in Vegas Really Stay in Vegas?

In Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square LLC, 724 F.3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2013), the defendants argued that contamination that happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas, and therefore the Commerce Clause barred the application of CERCLA. The...more

Capital Infusion: Practical Environmental Considerations in Acquiring or Securing Financing with Real Estate

This article focuses on environmental due diligence issues in the context of acquiring commercial/industrial real estate or using real property to secure financing. The analysis and risk factors for the acquisition of real...more

Time-Barred Claim? Fourth Circuit Invalidates State Statute of Repose in Contamination Cases

On July 10, 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or Superfund), the federal law redressing disposal of...more

CERCLA Is Still Constitutional

To paraphrase Shakespeare, United States v. Sterling Centrecorp, Inc., is a great feast of legal argument. The PRP in that case purchased the assets of a mining company whose operations in California had caused releases of...more

A Company Can Be Held Liable As An Owner Under CERCLA Even Though It Does Not Own The Contaminated Property

In EPEC Polymers, Inc. v. NL Industries Inc., Civ. Action No. 12-3842 (D.N.J. May 24, 2013), defendant NL Industries Inc. owned property on one side of the Raritan River, where it produced and discharged waste to the river. ...more

EPA’s New "Institutional Controls" Guidance May Raise Issues in Cleanups and Transactions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued two guidelines with far-reaching implications for real estate transactions involving contaminated sites, including sites owned by the Department of Defense. The...more

CERCLA’s Act of War Defense — Potential Collateral Damage

For the first time in CERCLA’s history, a court has concluded that a Superfund claim was barred by the ”act of war” defense. In that case, In Re September 11 Litigation, the judge ruled that a property owner a block from...more

EPA Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance Regarding Tenant Liability Under CERCLA’s Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Provision

Late last year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued Revised Enforcement Guidance Regarding the Treatment of Tenants under the Federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and...more

EPA Lifts Threat of CERCLA Liability for Some Tenants of Brownfields

Tenants who lease currently or formerly contaminated property can now benefit from protections from cleanup liability that were once available only to purchasers of such property. EPA announced its new policy in a December...more

Recent Ruling Confirms That Cost of Compliance with a PRP Letter Is Insured Under CGL Policies

In a recent ruling of interest to any company named as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at a Superfund site anywhere in the country, the Alabama Supreme Court has followed the majority of state courts and held that a...more

Another Win for Pennsylvania Policyholders Concerning the Duty to Defend and the Pollution Exclusion

Policyholders with pollution-related liabilities in Pennsylvania scored another win in January, in the ongoing litigation battle with insurance companies that argue for the broadest possible interpretation of the "pollution...more

In Alabama, Cost of Complying with a PRP letter Now Insured Under CGL Policies

In a recent ruling of interest to any company named as a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) at a Superfund site, the Alabama Supreme Court has held that a PRP letter constitutes a “suit” under a comprehensive general...more

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