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EPA Issues Final Rule to Update Standards for Conducting Environmental Assessments

On December 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule to amend certain standards and practices for conducting environmental assessments. The revised standards will directly affect purchasers of real estate assets who may potentially claim "innocent purchaser" or "bona fide prospective purchaser" protection from CERCLA or Superfund liability. Recipients of EPA Brownfields Grants will also be affected. While not legally applicable to stock acquisitions or financing transactions, the revised standards will likely be viewed as a "best practice" in the general conduct of environmental due diligence.