On May 19, Tonkon Torp hosted a panel to explore upcoming changes to the standards and requirements for completing a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) as part of a real estate transaction. Partner Jeanette Schuster, Chair of the firm’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice Group, hosted the event along with guest Ryan Bixby, Vice-President and Managing Principal with SoundEarth Strategies.
The speakers provided a briefing on ASTM Standard revisions and new requirements that are expected to go into effect in early 2022. To provide context for the changes, they reviewed the standing process for Phase 1 ESA due diligence, requirements for meeting the current ASTM Standard, and the reasoning behind the updates. Jeanette broke down the liability and protections for current owners, former owners, and operators under Superfund laws, and shared examples of how ESAs have been treated in court. Ryan walked through the anticipated changes coming to the 2013 ASTM standard, reviewed the standard for identifying recognized environmental conditions (REC) in an ESA, and previewed how the new ASTM standard will update the definition for RECs. Jeanette and Ryan both stressed the importance of hiring a consultant with the proper education and training, as well as local experience and knowledge to perform a Phase 1 ESA.
Jeanette assists clients with complex environmental and renewable energy projects, as well as with general business needs including: drafting, analyzing, and negotiating a broad range of commercial contracts, negotiating agreements with federal and state government agencies, and conducting due diligence for commercial and real estate transactions. Her clients encompass a broad range of industries with diverse objectives and needs.