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General Guidelines on All Appropriate Inquiries

EPA’s Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. EPA’s Brownfields Program provides financial and technical assistance for brownfields revitalization, including grants for environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training.

WHAT ARE "ALL APPROPRIATE INQUIRIES"?

The assessment or evaluation of a property to identify potential environmental contamination and assess potential liability for any contamination present at the property.

REASONS FOR CONDUCTING ALL APPROPRIATE INQUIRIES

Under CERCLA, persons may be held strictly liable for cleaning up hazardous substances at properties that they either currently own or operate or owned or operated in the past. Strict liability under CERCLA means that liability for environmental contamination may be assigned based solely on property ownership.

The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (the “Brownfields Amendments”) amended CERCLA to provide protections from liability for certain landowners and prospective purchasers of properties who can demonstrate compliance with specific statutory criteria and did not cause or contribute to contamination at the property. CERCLA provides three types of liability protections for landowners and prospective purchasers of real property:

Bona fide prospective purchasers may buy property with knowledge of contamination, provided they bought the property after January 11, 2002 and meet the criteria set forth in CERCLA §101(40).

PERSONS SUBJECT TO THE ALL APPROPRIATE INQUIRIES REQUIREMENTS

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ALL APPROPRIATE INQUIRIES RULE

Please email comments on this website to:Brownfields-Web-Comments@epamail.epa.gov


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