600,000-Acre Phase I ESA
Client: Green Diamond Resources
Location: Southern Oregon
Green Diamond Resources (Green Diamond) wanted to acquire 600,000 acres of timberland in Southern Oregon. This is an area roughly the size of half of Rhode Island; the timberland is spread across 25 discontinuous parcels, which are as far as 120 miles apart. Included in the purchase were various sawmills, former logging camps, a nursery, and an orchard.
Green Diamond, through their attorney Stoel Rives, contracted MFA to complete a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the entire 600,000 acres to identify any environmental issues, using ASTM Standards ASTM E1527-13 and ASTM E 2247-08, and then to assess the cost implications of those issues. This work had to be completed within the contractual 60-day due diligence period.
It is impossible to visually inspect 600,000 acres in 60 days, let alone in 60 weeks or even years. MFA utilized its geographic information system (GIS) and a proprietary algorithm to screen the 600,000 acres for features of interest. The features of interest were then screened by environmental professionals using high-resolution aerial photography. The features were then narrowed down to those that required a site visit. This approach allowed site visits within two weeks of notice to proceed. MFA created a punch list of items that required assessment and followup field analysis, and the results of this analysis were used as part of the negotiation with the seller. Because of MFA’s work, Green Diamond was able to complete its environmental due diligence within the required period. More importantly, this work gave Green Diamond the information it needed to make business decisions, based on environmental impacts, about properties it did or did not want to purchase.
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Steven P. Taylor, PE