Phase I ESA
The presence of environmental impacts significantly affects the worth of a property. The current owners of any property or site under the strict liability provisions of CERCLA can be responsible for cleanup of contaminated media. The best way for landowners and future buyers to protect themselves is invoke one of three legal defenses:
1) innocent landowner defense
2) bona fide prospective purchaser defense
3) contiguous property owner defense
However, to invoke this defense, the owner/buyer must demonstrate “all appropriate inquiry” has been made into the previous ownership and uses of the property. These investigations are typically conducted; 1) by the property owner prior to placing the property on the market; or 2) by a prospective purchaser in the due diligence phase of a property transaction. The goal of every Phase I ESA is to:
1) Provide baseline environmental information necessary for making sound business decisions associated with acquisition and financing of industrial, commercial, or developable properties.
2) Enable interested parties to evaluate environmental risks as a factor in your transaction decision.
3) Provide a useful document in negotiating the sale of the property.