EPA Adopts Additional Standard for Environmental Site Assessments
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) adopted an amendment to the All Appropriate Inquiries (“AAI”) rule found in 40 C.F.R. § 312, to allow, but not require, a new ASTM standard to meet the requirements of the existing AAI rule. We previously reported on a proposed amendment relating to these standards in articles published on October 15, 2013, and December 2, 2013. As discussed in those articles, the EPA previously issued a proposed Amendment to Standards and Practices for AAI to incorporate ASTM International’s E1527-13 “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” The EPA received comments to that proposed amendment. As a result, the EPA withdrew the proposed amendment, but intended to reissue it at a future date. The current amendment appears to be an intermediate step toward adopting additional amendments to the AAI rule.
The current amendment is effective as of December 30, 2013, and allows the use of ASTM E1527-13 to satisfy the requirements of the AAI rule. However, the current amendment does not require the use of ASTM E1527-13, nor does it restrict the ability to use ASTM E1527-05 or ASTM E1527-08 to satisfy the AAI rule. As such, the amendment provides an additional method to satisfy the AAI rule, but does not modify any existing requirements or impose any new requirements.
ASTM International is an international organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a range of materials, products, and services. ASTM International publishes the standards that the AAI rule references, and ASTM International makes these standards available for purchase at their website www.astm.org.
The EPA intends to propose another amendment to the AAI rule in the near future. The EPA confirmed that such an amendment would likely eliminate the ability to use ASTM E1527-05 to satisfy the AAI rule. For now, the EPA recommends parties utilize the standards of ASTM E1527-13. We will continue to monitor the EPA’s actions, and we will provide further updates if and when the EPA issues further relevant amendments.