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Containing Risk: Climate Data & Phase I ESAs - A Case Study of ASTs in High Flood Risk Regions

Winter 2024

You just invested in a warehouse property with fantastic cash flow. Suddenly, there is a flash flood event. It dislodges an aboveground storage tank (AST), which spills hundreds of gallons of diesel over a large area. Several drums of chemicals stored in the yard tip over and discharge onto soil and into an abutting creek. All the money the regulators are mandating that you spend cleaning it up is destroying your return on investment. When you conducted due diligence, your site was not in a FEMA flood zone. So, how could this have happened?

Environmental Practice Redefined: Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technology

October 2023

The evolving technology landscape is transforming the everyday practices of environmental and business professionals with accelerating impact. In the environmental due diligence space, drones have transformed site inspections and compliance monitoring.

EPA’s New Enforcement Initiatives Include the “S” in ESG - Part 1

August 2023

In the world of environmental protection and sustainable business practices, it’s crucial to connect traditional compliance initiatives with the broader conversation surrounding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Compliance with environmental laws forms a foundation for any credible ESG program and is a minimum requirement to showcase progress. With increasing calls for transparency and public concern for sustainability, organizations cannot claim advancement on ESG performance without fulfilling basic regulatory and compliance obligations. 

EPA’s New Enforcement Initiatives Include the “S” in ESG - Part 2

August 2023

Having discussed National Environmental Compliance Initiatives (NECIs) generally, and the proposed updates for 2024-2027, let’s take a closer look at what they mean for corporate ESG programs. How do the NECIs impact ESG evaluations and commitments?

EPA’s New Enforcement Initiatives Include the “S” in ESG - Part 3

August 2023

The credibility of a company’s reputation and the ESG data they rely on, use and report are foundational. In one company’s recent sustainability report, they made following statement:

“Our global Environment, Occupational Health and Safety Philosophy, endorsed by our President & CEO drives us towards continuous environment health and safety (EH&S) improvement, as measured by our leading environmental and safety indicators and implemented through our EH&S management approach. We are committed to complying with environmental laws and regulations and to protecting natural resources.”

Linking Environmental Compliance and ESG: Understanding the NECIs

August 2023

When looking at the enhanced scrutiny of corporate responsibility and performance, companies operating in the United States need to be aware that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expanding its current climate change focus beyond voluntary programs and regulations and placing a broader emphasis on enforcement – with consideration of social impacts. We see further evidence of this prioritization as revised National Enforcement Compliance Initiatives (NECIs) roll out – adding climate change as one of its top six priorities over the next three years. 

Podcast - Whiplash: Navigating WOTUS and the Sackett Decision

July 2023

The very definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act, has been the subject of extensive litigation and controversy for decades. Join Mary Ann Grena Manley, Founder and President of 15E Communications, and Rafe Petersen, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Holland & Knight, for an in-depth conversation as they explore the current WOTUS rule and its regulatory history. They also discuss the significance of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, its impact on regulatory requirements, and implications for land development, pending transactions, and environmental due diligence.

Canada’s Road to Resilience: A Look at Evolving Climate Risk Policies & Practices

May 2023

From fires to floods and hurricanes to heat waves, new policies are forcing property owners, buyers, lenders, and insurers to consider climate risks.

Increasingly, climate risk considerations play a crucial role in commercial real estate transactions. As new policies emerge, owners, developers, lenders, and other stakeholders are being asked to evaluate and disclose physical climate risks for specific properties. This article provides an overview of climate risk assessment trends in Canada and implications for CRE transactions, market prices, and property management.

Podcast - Environmental Justice Policy Updates: What Environmental Professionals Need to Know

February 2023

Environmental justice is a hot topic at the state and federal level, with emerging policies affecting everything from permitting decisions to company acquisitions and real estate transactions. Join Mary Ann Grena Manley, Founder and President of 15E Communications, and guest Matthew Karmel, Chair of the Environmental and Sustainability Law Group of Offit Kurman, for a conversation about recent policy and regulatory developments in environmental justice and practical impacts for environmental professionals. Discussion items include the intersection of EJ policy and energy policy, what states are leading the way on EJ issues, and how these regulatory changes affect specific projects. 

Spotlight On ASTM’s Committee E50: A Conversation with Tim Haley

February 2023

ASTM’s Committee E50 on Environmental Assessment, Risk Management, and Corrective Action develops important voluntary industry standards and best practices that play a critical role in commercial real estate transactions and pollution prevention. We sat down with Committee E50 Chair Tim Haley to talk about some of the most challenging environmental issues today, the voluntary standards process, expanding the use of standards in the marketplace, and how E50 is addressing evolving issues related to environmental risk management, PFAS, and ESG.

Podcast: What the Brownfields Redevelopment Story Tells Us About the Future of Environmental Policy with Mary Ann Grena Manley

January 2023

EPA’s brownfields program is a policy innovation success story. For decades, the program has empowered communities and other stakeholders to clean up and reuse contaminated sites safely. With increased data transparency, emerging technologies, and unprecedented levels of brownfields funding, the stars are aligned for expanding the redevelopment space.

PFAS UPDATE: Key Strategies for Navigating Environmental Due Diligence

December 2022

PFAS can be a game changer in commercial real estate transactions. 

As evolving policies expand the scope of potential liabilities and cleanup costs, environmental professionals must consider what steps they can take to address, mitigate, and manage PFAS-related risks at potentially impacted properties.

Although EPA is moving full steam ahead in implementing its PFAS Roadmap, there currently is no uniform approach to PFAS regulation in the United States. On the state level, there is a patchwork of various regulatory requirements, from relatively stringent to no regulatory framework at all. Given these inconsistencies and the emergence of new legal obligations, it’s important for environmental professionals to be aware of the applicable requirements and have a strategy for navigating potential PFAS risks and impacts.

This article presents an update on the PFAS regulatory landscape, and provides 10 practical considerations for addressing PFAS risks on commercial real estate..

Podcast - Real ESG Value: Megatrends Transforming CRE

2022

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and mega-economic trends are transforming the commercial real estate market and impacting brownfields redevelopment.

 

Join Mary Ann Grena Manley, Founder and President, 15E Communications, and guest Dan French, Founder & Principal of dbForesites and President of Brightfield Productions, for a lively discussion about how global factors and ESG are influencing public and private investment in infrastructure, real estate, and beyond. Critical discussion items include the importance of identifying all risks in CRE portfolios that have financial consequences and preparing for the wealth of new opportunities emerging as the transition to the green economy takes shape and worldwide markets shift.

Podcast - Connecting the Phase I to Long-Term Stewardship: ASTM's Continuing Obligations Standard

July 2022

Although ASTM’s Standard Guide for Identifying and Complying with Continuing Obligations (E2790-20) doesn’t get the star treatment the Phase I standard enjoys, it plays a critical role in the environmental due diligence continuum, kicking in for property owners who acquire contaminated sites. Often, these are properties purchased for redevelopment. For parties looking to ensure liability protections under federal law (CERCLA) or state law, or to ensure they’re following best practices for general risk management for contaminated properties, the guide is a critical post-acquisition implementing tool. Notably, the first step the user takes under E2790-20 is to review the site’s Phase I report. 

 

Join Mary Ann Grena Manley, Founder and President, 15E Communications, and guest Mike Sowinski, Vice President, Terradex, for an enlightening conversation about ASTM’s standard guide for land stewardship.

Historic Infrastructure Funding Yields Extensive Opportunities for Remediation and Redevelopment

July 2022

Billions of dollars are earmarked for environmental cleanup and related redevelopment projects.

Across the U.S., hundreds of thousands of former industrial and commercial sites, called brownfields, sit idle. If cleaned up and redeveloped, these properties present vast opportunities for economic growth and community improvement.

Brownfield sites come in many forms. They can be former gas stations, empty warehouses, abandoned railroads, or any former industrial property. Thanks to a truly historic investment in environmental cleanup, billions of federal dollars are now available for redeveloping these underutilized and unused areas while addressing legacy pollution and revitalizing underserved communities. So not only does the infrastructure law aim to mitigate climate change, but it also seeks to stimulate the economy in historically overburdened neighborhoods and advance the Biden administration’s environmental justice (EJ) goal.

ERIS ORIGINALS latest article provides a comprehensive primer about the infrastructure law.

ASTM’s Standard Guide For Property Resilience Assessments Of Buildings

February 2022

Climate risk considerations have taken center stage in commercial real estate. ERIS met with the chair of the new ASTM task group focused on standardizing property resilience assessments to discuss the committee’s work and what the new guide means for environmental consultants.

Today, every player in the real estate ecosystem is concerned about climate risk. Property owners, investors, operators, developers, lenders, and other stakeholders increasingly must evaluate and disclose climate risks of individual properties and property portfolios and align that assessment with existing environmental due diligence processes.

Cannabis and CRE: Exploring Environmental Compliance and Due Diligence

January 2022

The proliferation of the legal production and sale of cannabis throughout the U.S. has led to tremendous growth of the industry in a relatively short period of time. States where medical and recreational marijuana has been legal for several years show significant increases in the demand for commercial land and facilities.

 

For the environmental consultant, cannabis-related commercial development is of special interest both for the newness of the field and for the attention it can attract from regulators as well as community and business organizations. Regulatory requirements that apply to cannabis industry businesses range from the more obvious environmental regulations involving air, waste, and water, to unique ones such as local zoning laws relating to the proximity of these facilities to schools.

Adaptive Reuse: Reimagining the Commercial Real Estate Ecosystem

August 2021

In the wake of the global pandemic, we have seen an undeniable acceleration of existing work-life, geographic, and demographic trends. While some of these changes may eventually slow or reverse course, it’s clear that others are here to stay and will impact the future footprint of the commercial real estate market.

How have Environmental Consultants adapted to ‘COVID’ times?

July 2020

COVID-19 is an inflection point in history for our industry and our society. ERIS conducted in-depth conversations with industry consultants and discovered that the pandemic has already changed the way people are working, interacting, and conducting their day-to-day lives. The pandemic has forced industry efficiencies, innovations, and highlighted resiliencies. So, although COVID-19 has been and continues to be a time of great hardship and challenge in many ways, it also has promoted positive change. These positive outcomes are the silver linings that have made the industry stronger and better positioned for the future.

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