January 18, 2012

Paul Moe on Environmental Due Diligence for Property Owners

The Superfund Act's Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense protects those commercial property owners who conduct a Phase I environmental site assessment within six months of purchasing the property, Paul Moe told Finance and Commerce.

"Even if the Phase I shows the property is contaminated, generally speaking, as long as you're not making the contamination worse and you're taking steps to deal with the issues, you don't have to do a full clean-up and you're protected against liability for those pre-existing conditions," Moe said.

Moreover, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) offers commercial property buyers in the state a liability assurance letter, which lets them off the hook for cleanup as long as they know any contamination won't be exacerbated.

"You can send the MPCA information about the property from your Phase I assessment, and they'll send back a liability assurance letter confirming either that the contamination isn't bad enough that it requires cleanup, or else saying it does need cleanup but you're not responsible to do the cleanup because your use of the property won't make the contamination any worse," said Moe. Read more.

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