Michigan’s environmental remediation law, Part 201 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Part 201), exempts a new property owner or operator from liability for pre-existing contamination at a site if the new owner/operator conducts a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA) prior to or within 45 days after purchase, occupancy, or foreclosure (whichever is earlier). A BEA is a written document that describes the results of an All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) and the analysis of soil and/or groundwater samples that confirm that the property is a facility. A facility is defined by Part 201 as any area, place or property where a hazardous substance exists in a concentration in excess of the Michigan generic residential cleanup criteria.
As a result of amendments made to the Part 201 statute (effective as of December 14, 2010), the BEA process has been significantly modified. EGLE no longer reviews BEA reports upon request and will not provide a determination of nonliability. The BEA must still be disclosed to the EGLE within 6 months of the earlier date of purchase, occupancy or foreclosure. We have assisted many clients in developing strategies to address issues arising in the BEA process and in the completion of a technically adequate BEA.