“My Bank says I need an ‘Environmental’?”

The phone rings and the voice on the other end of the line asks, sort-of lost sounding, “My bank says I need an Environmental? Do you do those?”  I wonder if the person on the other end of the phone thinks they may have just been ordered to take a colonic, because they sound really unhappy and confused.

looking down a roadI have done “environmentals” for about twenty-one years now.  The stakeholders are never the same, the sites are never the same, and the level of understanding for the “magic” they are asking me to perform is never the same.  The caller might be looking to fund a commercial real estate transaction which might include a property purchase or development project, or looking to purchase or sell a commercial property.

In simplest terms, usually, the “environmental” is what is known in the business as a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, ASTM 1527-13 (ESA).  It is a history research paper that is done by an Environmental Professional.  I am an Environmental Professional, so I have written many, many “environmentals.”

If you own, operate, lease or were ever in the chain-of-title for a property, you may find yourself participating in a site cleanup (participating means you are paying money).  How do you avoid this situation/liability?  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that there is a good and customary practice in the United States for conducting an ESA, and, thereby avoiding becoming embroiled in an environmental cleanup
There of course, is more to the story – but, I will tell more later.