ECA Geophysics

EPA’s AAI: A new phase in ESAs?


Courtesy of Courtesy of ECA Geophysics

Environmental due diligence is on the brink of change. Some subtle. Others more substantive. The changes stem from EPA's mandate pursuant to the January 2002 Small Business Liability Relief and Revitalization Act (the Federal Brownfields Law) to write the nation'01/s first federal standards for conducting 'all appropriate inquiries,” the process by which a property's potential for environmental contamination is investigated prior to purchase. Congress laid out a 10-step framework for what constitutes AAI (see Table 1 on p. 2), and gave EPA two years to write the regulation (by January 11, 2004).

In April 2003, EPA tasked a broad-based 25-member stakeholder committee to write the rule using a regulatory-negotiation (reg-neg) process under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). On November 14, 2003, after more than 100 hours of discussion and debate, the reg-neg committee reached consensus on a draft rule for the first federal standards and processes for conducting AAI. The final consensus draft rule__to be eventually codified in federal regulation, 'Part 312 - Standards for Conducting All Appropriate Inquiries'__follows the ASTM E 1527-00 standard in many areas, but it does add certain new levels of investigation (see Table 2 on p. 3). This article covers 10 key facts about the draft AAI rule (see sidebar), including its applicability, requirements for Phase I professionals, and its most notable differences with current industry practice.

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