In the Smurfti-Stone Mill Site Case Study the purchasing company, The Green Investment Group, took ownership of the site, absolved the previous owners of liability, and took out their own insurance policy to protect themselves. What is not mentioned in this case study is weather or not that insurance policy was aligned with any other site liability category like BFPP (Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser) status. Since the buyers didn’t take any steps to protect their liability status, they wouldn’t qualify under CERCLA’s “innocent landowner” status which means that they would be responsible/ liable for all site contamination even if they didn’t contribute to the contamination. To have Landowner Liability Protection (LLP) status (like innocent landowner), the purchasing company should have conducted environmental site assessments (ESAs). The Phase 1 ESA would suffice as meeting both due diligence and all appropriate inquires (AAIs) provided it was conducted in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard E1527 (Links to an external site.)(CEA. 2018). Phase 1 ESAs include: Historical records review, environmental database records review, interviews, user-reported information, and an onsite property inspection; all of which is compiled into a report (Borgias, A.P., Bradfield, M.S. 2015). Considering the post purchase inspection’s hazardous findings, it can be assumed that the Phase 1 ESA would have required the purchasers to conduct Phase 2 and/or Phase 3 ESA.
The Brownfield program steps that should be followed to address the contamination found at the Smurfti-Stone Mill Site are broken into three distinct phases. The pre-development phase steps to be followed include conducting analyses of contaminants/due diligence, proforma and agreement for purchase of property documents (to address liability, risk, and regulatory assurances), and the formulation of a comprehensive site redevelopment plan (EPA, 2019). The next phase of the brownfield redevelopment plan is the development phase and includes steps like obtaining permits/necessary approvals and environmental cleanup. The final phase of the Brownsfield redevelopment plan is management where liabilities are assigned (owner or buyer).
I think that in the case of the Smurfti-Stone Mill Site, the environmental contamination remains despite the deed changing hands multiple times. That tells me that the task of remediation is far greater than most developers assume so getting synergistic companies to occupy the site may be to difficult at the current time/ containment quantity. Despite the location and appeal of the site there is still so much contamination that it would be very costly for any corporation to invest in it. I think that the only way for the land to be developed and occupied by synergistic companies is if the state subsidized/financed some of the clean up or remediation costs in supplementation to the Superfund cleanup efforts.
Borgias, A.P., Bradfield, M.S. (2015). Managing Hazardous Materials (3rd ed.). Rockville, MD; Institute of Hazardous Materials Management. Chapter 22.
Corporate Environmental Advisors Inc. (2018, September 26). The Basics of Environmental Due Diligence: CEA: Westborough, MA. Retrieved from https://cea-inc.com/the-basics-of-environmental-due-diligence/.
EPA. (2019, June). Anatomy of Brownfields Redevelopment. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/anat_bf_redev_101106.pdf.