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Reducing Liability Uncertainty When Redeveloping Environmentally Challenged Property: Federal vs. State Liability Protections, Defenses, and Due Care Obligations During Property Acquisitions

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, August 8, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide practical guidance to in-house real estate and environmental counsel on the similarities and differences between federal and state liability protections available under CERCLA, RCRA, and their state law counterparts; best practices for choosing (where possible) which programs to most effectively limit client exposure; and new options for changing authorities mid-project.


Both the federal and state governments administer a wide variety of statutory programs that govern the remediation of a potentially contaminated site, including the extent to which remediation is “voluntary” or at the direction of the government. Moreover, EPA’s Superfund Task Force and other initiatives are exploring new ways for the agency and the states to redistribute responsibilities for cleanups among their respective programs.

But the federal CERCLA and RCRA Corrective Action programs differ materially in terms of defenses and obligations, as do the various state programs, leaving counsel to navigate a complicated maze of legal, technical, and practical aspects of site remediation projects. Whether redeveloping a Superfund NPL site or a brownfield site going through a state voluntary cleanup program, an active commercial/industrial facility or an abandoned landfill, there are myriad strategic and practical decisions to be made to ensure that a site gets remediated and a new project or green space built.

Listen as our experienced panel discusses the latest developments in federal all appropriate inquiries (AAI) and reasonable steps under CERCLA, and compares these with elements of RCRA Corrective Action and their state law counterparts. The panel will also address strategies and options in deciding which program to pursue.



  1. CERCLA and RCRA Corrective Action overview
  2. Latest developments in EPA’s Superfund Task Force reform efforts
  3. State “mini superfunds” and voluntary cleanup programs overview
  4. Strategic and practical considerations under various programs


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the key differences between CERCLA, RCRA Corrective Action, and state remediation programs?
  • When can, or should, a party influence which program governs a cleanup?
  • What are the most critical legal, technical, and practical aspects of contaminated site remediation projects?
  • How does a purchaser qualify as a bona fide purchaser under CERCLA?
  • What happens when state law addresses liability differently than federal law?
  • What are the best practices for evaluating which program provides the most robust protections?
  • How does a party conduct an "all appropriate inquiry"?
  • What are the most pressing emerging issues in environmental due diligence (e.g. PFOA/PFOS)?


Howland, Charles
Charles B. Howland

Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle

Mr. Howland is head of the firm’s Environmental Group; co-leads its hydrogen practice; and has an active...  |  Read More

Roberts-Satinsky, Megan
Megan M. Roberts-Satinsky

Linowes and Blocher

Ms. Roberts-Satinsky counsels developers, builders, and residential and commercial property owners on environmental...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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