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Preparing Project Proposals

Completing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment

A variety of federal grant programs are available in Alaska. Many of these grant programs are administered in partnership with the State of Alaska. Often federally funded projects are awarded through the State. When implementing a federal grant involving the acquisition of land when title or any interest in land vests with the State, the State will require that the proper due diligence is conducted to ensure that liability to the State is minimized. A "Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, All Appropriate Inquiries" report is required for each parcel.

WHY? To avoid being held potentially liable for the cleanup of contamination, a prospective property owner must comply with the statutory requirements for obtaining the innocent landowner, contiguous property owner or bona fide prospective purchaser liability defenses through the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Among these is the requirement to, prior to the date of acquisition of the property, undertake "all appropriate inquiries" into prior ownership and uses of a property. These requirements are applicable to any public or private party who may potentially claim protection from CERCLA liability as an innocent landowner, prospective purchaser, or contiguous property owner. Additionally, under State law, AS 46.03.822 provides an opportunity for similar protection to those who perform reasonable due diligence prior to acquisition.

The ASTM standard is the most prevalent industry standard and was developed in conjunction with the development of EPA's final rule setting federal standards for the conduct of all appropriate inquiries. ASTM Practice E1527-05 is consistent with EPA's final rule and should be used to comply with the provisions of the all appropriate inquiries final rule. The following documents may assist in securing Phase I Site Assessments that meet State and Federal requirements.