Entry by JoeDerhake
For the past 2 months I have been administering a survey on behalf of the Environmental Bankers Association. I have surveyed 20 Environmental Consultants, 19 Environmental Bankers, and 4 Environmental attorneys on what is and is not a REC. I presented 7 case studies and asked 30 questions on risk tolerance and the classification of RECs. I thought that this survey would present a good beginning point for this blog.
The case that yielded the greatest variance of opinions was the one on “re-openers.” The basics of the case are as follows: there is a gas station with a substantial fuel release and the site goes through extensive testing and remediation. The site gets closure from the appropriate agency in 1996. Twelve years later the phase I environmental assessor opines that the levels left in the ground are significantly above the state’s 2008 standards for closure. Would these case facts represent a REC? A HREC? A pVIC?
This is a tough case, as anyone who has gone through the arduous process of gaining site closure for a significantly contaminated property would argue, when big brother says you are done, you are done! On the other hand, this case meets the basic requirements of a REC, namely, the presence of petroleum products over regulatory levels.
In the community that I surveyed, 39% of respondants considered the closed site a REC—consultants were generally more conservative than bankers. Only 26% of the community considered this a pVIC. What do you think and why? Please offer your opinion.