Bipartisan lead paint bill would ease regulatory burdens on contractors
Responding to concerns from industry trade groups, Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and a bipartisan list of original co-sponsors introduced legislation June 7 to make much-needed improvements to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting (LRRP) rule. The rule, which took effect April 22, 2010, requires that remodelers and contractors working in homes built before 1978 be trained and certified by the EPA on lead-safe work practices before they can legally work in those homes.
Three months later, the EPA removed the "opt-out" provision in the LRRP that allowed remodelers working in a home built prior to 1978 to forego more expensive work practices according to the owner’s wish if no children under the age of six or pregnant women resided there.
H.R. 5911, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Bill of 2012, is similar to legislation (S. 2148) unveiled earlier this year in the Senate by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and five other cosponsors that would help homeowners and remodelers to better comply with the costly work practices and recordkeeping requirements of the rule without compromising safety standards.
Both the House and Senate bills would address these concerns and offer other reforms for EPA’s enforcement of the lead paint rule. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Reinstate the
opt-out provision to allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women
residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP compliance.
By removing the opt-out provision, the EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP. The agency has estimated this will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community and, more importantly, without making young children any safer.
- Suspend the LRRP if the EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements. The agency has failed to approve a test kit that meets the "false positive" and "false negative" criteria stated in the regulation.
- Allow remodelers to reduce fines if they correct paperwork errors found during an inspection.
- Eliminate the "hands-on" recertification training requirements that force some remodelers to travel long distances to training facilities to receive proper certification.
- Prohibit the EPA from expanding
the LRRP to commercial and public buildings until at least one year after the
agency conducts a study demonstrating the need for such an action.
By failing to perform a study of lead exposure rates from work on commercial and public buildings, the agency has exceeded its congressional mandate by starting the process of extending the LRRP to those structures through an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
- Clarify the definition of "abatement" to specifically exclude remodeling and renovation activities.
- Provide an exemption to the regulation for emergency renovations.
Additional co-sponsors to H.R. 5911 include Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.)
Industry groups are urging their members to contact their representatives and senators and urge them to cosponsor the respective lead paint bills pending in the House and Senate.
Source: National Association of Home Builders