EPA has announced that it will withdraw its direct final rule published in the Federal Register on August 15, which updated brownfields due diligence requirements, and will issue a new final rule. The August due diligence rule had been criticized because it allowed use of an outdated ASTM standard for “all appropriate inquiry” (AAI) when acquiring brownfield sites, as well as the updated ASTM standard. It was asserted that allowance of two different standards would create regulatory confusion on the level of due diligence required. EPA had been expected to state that ASTM’s latest version of the AAI standard, E1527-13, met the process requirements for AAI when acquiring potentially contaminated property. However, the August rule stated that although E1527-13 is equivalent to the AAI rule, use of that standard was not required, and the earlier version of the standard, E1527-05, scheduled to expire at the end of this year, could also be used, as well as a similar standard known as E2247-08. The stated reason for withdrawing the August rule is that EPA has received adverse comments on it. A new rule is expected to be issued soon.
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