Revitalizing contaminated sites: the revitalization handbook addressing liability concerns

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The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, (“Brownfields Amendments”), Pub. L. No. 107-118, enacted in January 2002, amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), to provide important liability limitations for landowners that qualify as: (1) bona fide prospective purchasers, (2) contiguous property owners, or (3) innocent landowners (hereinafter, “landowner liability protections” or “landowner provisions”).

To meet the statutory criteria for a landowner liability protection, a landowner must meet certain threshold  criteria and satisfy certain continuing obligations.1 Many of the conditions are the same or similar under the three landowner provisions (“common elements”). This memorandum is intended to provide Environmental Protection Agency personnel with some general guidance on the common element of the landowner liability protections. Specifically, this memorandum first discusses the threshold criteria of performing “all appropriate inquiry” and demonstrating no “affiliation” with a liable party. The memorandum then discusses the continuing obligations

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