In the 2014 “lame duck” session, the Michigan Legislature passed Amendments to Part 201 (Environmental Remediation) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Governor Snyder signed them into law in January 2015 as Public Act 542, which creates new definitions and amends current provisions regarding remediation and cleanup at sites where hazardous substances have been released.
Here are some of the key changes made to Part 201:
- Updating the definition of “all appropriate inquiry” to clarify applicability of the ASTM 2013 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Standard.
- Clarifying the definition of “residential” and “non-residential” uses for use in remedial plans.
- Removing the definition of “free product” and instead referencing “NAPL”-related definitions in Part 213, the underground storage tank cleanup provisions of NREPA.
- Allows for the late filing of baseline environmental assessments (BEAs) in certain circumstances.
- Continued emphasis on the ability to conduct partial clean-ups and achieve partial “No Further Action” determinations.
- Adding new provision for the contents of restrictive covenants and for allowing other types of institutional controls.
Also, a separate bill, Public Act 416, passed during this same time and makes significant changes to underground storage tank cleanup funding under Part 215 (UST Corrective Action Funding) of NREPA. The new law creates a new administrative authority, the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund Authority. Significantly, a portion of the fuel tax will be used to establish and finance a new UST Clean-up Fund, administered by the new Authority, to help owners with UST financial assurance requirements and eventually replace private insurance.
Contributed by Tammy Helminski of Barnes & Thornburg.