As discussed more fully in my advisory titled EPA Proposes to Eliminate Dual Standard for “All Appropriate Inquires” under CERCLA, on December 30, 2013, EPA published a final rule authorizing use of ASTM E1527-13 to comply with the Appropriate Inquiries (“AAI”) requirements for the innocent landowner, bona fide prospective purchaser, and continuous property owner defenses to CERCLA liability. 78 Fed. Reg. 79319. This final rule did not remove reference to the 2005 standard. Thus, although EPA made clear that reliance on the updated ASTM Phase I standard would satisfy a purchaser’s AAI obligations under CERCLA, EPA left significant uncertainty as to whether a Phase I without agency file review was sufficient to meet AAI requirements because EPA did not remove the reference to the 2005 Phase I standard. On June 17, 2014, EPA proposed to amend the AAI Rule in 40 CFR 312 to remove the reference to ASTM E 1527-05. According to EPA’s proposal, the “proposed action removes the reference to a standard that ASTM International no longer recognizes as current and that it no longer represents as reflecting its current consensus-based standard.” 79 Fed. Reg. 34480.
EPA Proposes to Eliminate Dual Standard for “All Appropriate Inquires” under CERCLA