October 15, 2014 Articles

EPA Revises "All Appropriate Inquiries" Process, Adopts ASTM Standard

EPA adopts standard addressing vapor migration.

By Margaret Hill

On October 29, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the August 15, 2013, direct final rule amending the "Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries," 40 C.F.R. pt. 312 (AAI final rule), which referenced and allowed use of the revised ASTM International standard E1527-13, the "Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process." 78 Fed. Reg. 64,403 (Oct. 29, 2013). ASTM issued the revised version of ASTM E1527 on November 6, 2013. The AAI final rule was withdrawn by EPA after receiving adverse comments before September 16, 2013, which was EPA's stated deadline for adverse comments. Although EPA did not anticipate receiving any adverse comments to the revised standard and deemed the final rule "a noncontroversial action," commenters objected to the fact that EPA was allowing the use of both the old standard (ASTM E1527-05) and the revised standard even though the newer standard incorporates a more stringent inquiry process. EPA anticipates issuing the final rule prior to year-end, responding to the adverse comments received, and referencing the revised ASTM E1527-13 standard as being compliant with the AAI requirements.

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