Fundamentals of U.S. EPA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” Rule

November 2005

On November 1, 2005, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced the final “All Appropriate Inquiry” (“AAI”) Rule as required by the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002.  The final AAI Rule changes the way in which environmental due diligence and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments are to be conducted for potentially contaminated property.

For example, the final AAI Rule requires that “all appropriate inquiry” include, among other things:

Because completing “all appropriate inquiry” is a threshold step to qualify for one of the three exemptions from landowner liability under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“Superfund”) -- the “Innocent Landowner” defense, the “Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers” defense, and the Contiguous Property Owners defense -- it is important to understand how and when all appropriate inquiry must be completed under the final AAI Rule.

                        o        The All Appropriate Inquiry Rule, 40 CFR Part 312;

                        o        ASTM 1527 E-00; or

                        o        ASTM 1527 E-05.

                        o        All Appropriate Rule, 40 CFR Part 312; or

                        o        ASTM 1527 E-05. 

The final AAI Rule will significantly impact property transactions and the due diligence necessary to qualify for liability relief under CERCLA.  If you have any questions regarding the final AAI Rule, please contact Frost Brown Todd’s Environmental Attorneys.

Additional Documents: