Update: the Government Shutdown and Due Diligence
How is the Federal Government shutdown affecting the environmental due diligence industry?
Environmental Due Diligence requires review of data, historical records and other files obtained from a range of government agencies, archives and databases. With many of these agencies closed due to the current Federal Government shutdown, some of these resources are –temporarily - inaccessible. How does this affect the production of Phase I Environmental Site assessments (ESAs)?
In the short-term, we have been able to find alternate ways and resources to fulfil the requirements for compliance with All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) and ASTM E1527. Here is a quick update how we - and others in the industry - are coping with the shutdown:
*Most radius report providers collect data from the government databases on a routine basis – every 45 or even 90 days – so at least in the short-term we’re able to access this data as normal.
*Access to historical sources such as city directories, fire insurance maps, and aerial photographs have been somewhat affected, but there are alternate sources and much data already digitized which will satisfy immediate needs.
*Federal websites such as the US Geological Survey (USGS) have been shut down. This hurts our research, but we have identified alternate non-federal (private) options that suffice for the interim.
*Suspended access to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federal databases and hazardous substances records will prove to be our greatest challenge. Thankfully, the requirement to physically review records pertaining to hazardous substances is usually satisfied on a local (City and County) or State level, and as such won’t be affected by the federal shutdown too much.
In cases where required documents are not accessible, Environmental Professionals (EPs) will have to document and address these data gaps as limitations in the report, recommending review of these documents once the agencies are back up and running.
For now, environmental due diligence services can be provided (almost) as normal. However, accessing up-to-date information will become increasingly difficult the longer the shutdown continues. I believe I speak on behalf of the entire due diligence industry when I say I hope the Government reopens as soon as possible!
Be sure to check out Partner Engineerings webinarDevelopment is Back! Mitigate Risk with Due Diligence for an in-depth look at the key engineering, environmental and energy due diligence items that can identify potential "fatal flaws" to a development or redevelopment project and help to prevent them. Click here to download.
About Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.
Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. (Partner) is a full-service environmental and engineering consulting firm completing projects nationwide. We specialize in evaluating properties in connection with real estate transactions, development or management.