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In November 2013, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) issued its revised standard for performing Phase I environmental site assessments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized this revised standard as representing acceptable All Appropriate Inquiry, or AAI, for the purpose of supporting various defenses to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). However, both the revisions and the EPA’s approval of them are likely to cause confusion in determining the appropriate level of scrutiny in evaluating potentially contaminated properties in corporate and real estate transactions. Counsel involved in such transactions will need to pay special attention to Phase Is that are performed over the next few years to ensure that they provide the necessary information and conform to the new requirements.

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