ACE: With M&A Uptick Comes Need to Review Environmental Liabilities

August 22, 2013

The rate of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has seen a recent uptick, prompting a need for growing companies to review their global environmental liability strategies, says a report by ACE’s retail operations group.

2012 showed M&A growth, according to Mergermarket statistics, with the year’s first quarter topping three successive quarters of the highest M&A values experienced in the last five years.

“Certainly, for those companies with strong balance sheets, access to inexpensive debt and superior working capital management practices, M&A will remain a core part of their strategic growth priorities, both domestically and abroad,” says Seth Gillston, senior vice president of Ace Global Mergers & Acquisitions Industry Practice and co-author of the study. “Companies seeking a stronger foothold in emerging markets–particularly within those countries that have liberalized foreign ownership rules–will continue to pursue M&A as a means of entry. In doing so, they will confront compliance with a patchwork quilt of constantly shifting environmental laws and regulations.”

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New ASTM Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Standards Endorsed by EPA as Constituting “All Appropriate Inquiries” Under CERCLA

Barnes & Thornburg LLP
David R. Gillay, Charlie Denton, Susan Parker Bodine, Timothy A. Haley, Joel T. Bowers and Bruce White

August 20, 2013

On Aug. 15, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued notice in the Federal Register that it intends to endorse the updated “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process,” issued by ASTM International, through a Final Rule amending 40 C.F.R. Part 312. See Environmental Protection Agency, Amendment to Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries, 78 FR 49714 (Aug. 15, 2013) (link to proposed rule is here). If there are no adverse comments to this direct Final Rule the rule will go into effect in 90 days, on Nov. 13, 2013. The comment period for this Rule closes on Sept. 16, 2013.

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is Promoting a Bill to Modernize and Improve the EPA Brownfields Program

Bricker & Eckler, LLP
R. McCarthy

July 23, 2013

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently hosted a conference call to discuss his support of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2013. Brown said the bill, introduced in March, would modernize and improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program by “providing additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields.” In connection with the bill, Brown’s office released a county-by-county list of Ohio brownfield sites that although admittedly incomplete (because site owners are not required to inform the EPA), nonetheless includes more than 250 brownfields in Ohio

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USEPA delays draft proposals for nationwide stormwater regulations…again

Bernkopt Goodman LLP
Kenneth F. Whittaker and Margaret R. Stolfa

July 19, 2013

If Robert Frost had anticipated that USEPA would someday exist, he might have titled his iconic poem “Stopping By Woods on a Rainy Evening.” The agency has miles to go and promises to keep, but once again has missed its promised deadline to issue updated nationwide stormwater management regulations that affect “post-construction” sites such as roadways, subdivisions and commercial buildings.

To summarize the long history of regulatory angst regarding stormwater management, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) was directed to engage in this regulatory area as a result of the 1987 revisions to the Federal Clean Water Act. Phase I stormwater management regulations focusing primarily on large industrial dischargers, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (“MS4s”) and construction sites greater than 5 acres, were forthcoming in 1990. In 1999, and following a judicial consent decree in response to missed promulgation deadlines, Phase II regulations were issued addressing smaller MS4 systems (populations less than 100,000) and construction sites between 1 and 5 acres. Covered facilities were required to apply for and obtain a NPDES discharge permit by March 2003, and to implement certain minimum stormwater management controls to protect receiving water quality. As with any large regulatory program, implementation of the Phase I and II regulations was not without controversy and many stakeholders, principally but not exclusively municipalities, raised technical and cost concerns.

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