Due Diligence Tool

EPA’s AAI law also brought about change to the role of the Transaction Screen in environmental due diligence. Transaction Screen Assessments, which are not required to be performed by an environmental professional, consist of a site visit, a review of current government records and historical records
and interviews with the owner or operator of the property. With the passing of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, Transaction Screen Assessments, widely used by many banks, do not meet the requirements of the new AAI law and therefore no longer provide CERCLA liability protection. User groups, including the banking community, the industrial community, government and consultants, actively use E1528 and urged that the Transaction Screen be retained but in compliance with the new law. An ASTM task force has been convened to rewrite ASTM E 1528 to bring it in compliance with the new law. The task
group will, among other things, clearly state in the standard that a Transaction Screen does not satisfy
CERCLA requirements; it will also clarify the differences between the Transaction Screen and a Phase I ESA.

Historically, the relatively inexpensive Transaction Screen has had tremendous value in the marketplace,
particularly for lenders. This will continue to be the case. With the new AAI rule about to take effect, such screens will prove useful on low risk sites or any other properties where CERCLA protection is not a concern. The E 1528 task group hopes the new standard will mean that more transactions will receive environmental due diligence, which in turn will result in a “net gain for the environment.”
The committee hopes to finalize the new standard in January 2006


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