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September/October 2008
UpDate

forestlandForestland Site Assessment

The ASTM standard originally developed to meet the unique environmental assessment needs of parties involved in the acquisition of large acreage forestland and rural property has recently been revised. The revision is an important step toward making E2247, Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property, compliant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s All Appropriate Inquiries Rule (40 CFR Part 312, Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries). E2247 is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E50.02 on Real Estate Assessment and Management, part of Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management and Corrective Action.

“ASTM International and Committee E50 believe that referencing E2247-08 in the AAI regulation will provide the needed guidance to parties purchasing large tracts of land and seeking CERCLA liability protection as bona fide prospective purchasers or innocent landowners,” says David Parsonage, vice president, American Geosciences Inc., and chair of the ASTM task group on E2247.

Parsonage also notes that E2247 is already widely used. “The forest industry, other natural resource industries, conservation organizations, forest and rural real estate professionals, lenders, resource management agencies and environmental consultants are examples of the variety of parties that apply E2247,” says Parsonage.

Purchasers of forestland and rural property have had to rely on adapting ASTM E1527, Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process, to applications in order to potentially claim one of the landowner liability protections under CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act). However, E2247 more clearly addresses property uses and environmental concerns typical of forestland and provides for the use of remote sensing methods such as the use of aerial photography or flyovers. “Based on the success of the consensus process and input from EPA technical and legal representatives during the drafting of the E2247 revision, purchasers of forestland and rural property will soon have an effective and efficient alternative for demonstrating compliance with the AAI rule,” says Parsonage.

CONTACT

Technical Information: David Parsonage, American Geosciences, Inc., Murrysville, Pa.

Phone: 724-733-7000

ASTM Staff: Daniel Smith

Phone: 610-832-9727