To ensure health of people and the environment, the Department coordinates with its bureaus/offices to minimize the exposure of bureaus/offices to liabilities and potential remediation costs by avoiding the acquisition of real property that is contaminated, unless otherwise specifically directed by Congress, court mandate, or as determined by the Secretary or the Secretary’s authorized representative.
When a bureau/office plans to acquire contaminated property, except under certain conditions, it is it is the Department’s policy to preserve potential defenses to CERCLA and/or OPA liability when prudent and practicable by performing a Preliminary Assessment –Environmental Site Assessment (PA-ESA), which is one step in the requirements for All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI).
The OEPC reviews all PA-ESA and Limited Environmental Due Diligence: Transaction Screen Process (LEDD/TSP) reports and recommendations requiring approval by the Assistant Secretary Policy management and Budget (AS-PMB). The OEPC may also assist bureaus/offices in interpreting and implementing the requirements of this chapter. In addition, OEPC may provide and revise additional guidance on land acquisition. The OEPC is also responsible for informing bureaus/offices of updates to ASTM standards consistent with the EPA’s and U.S. Coast Guard’s AAI regulations.