Legislation Introduced to Change LRRP Rule; Would Restore Opt-Out Clause

March 2nd, 2012 | Category: Industry News

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has introduced the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments of 2012 (S.2148), legislation that would make some changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Renovate, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. Among its key provisions, S. 2148 would restore the “Opt-Out” clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kits that meet the regulation’s requirements and provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations. The bill has been cosponsored by Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mike Enzi (R-WY).

A number of organizations, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) applauded the legislation’s introduction, which took place yesterday, saying it would reform the LRRP Rule, reducing the burden it has placed on the home retrofit market while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards.

“Since the EPA Lead Rule took effect in April 2010, EPA has expanded the rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children while mismanaging the implementation of the rule and failing to meet its own requirements to produce an accurate test kit,” says WDMA President Michael O’Brien. “This legislation is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Sen. Inhofe for his leadership on this issue.”

The LRRP rule requires renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a pre-1978 home and all door and window replacements to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and requires that it be performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm. In July 2010, EPA removed the “Opt-Out Provision” from the rule, which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of lead-safe work practices. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, estimating that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community.

According to the statement from WDMA, despite EPA stating a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives would be on the market when the rule took effect in 2010, no test kit on the market meets this standard. The lack of EPA compliant test kits has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

“The window and door retrofit market has been key to sustaining the industry and preserving jobs during the prolonged housing downturn. EPA’s efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original scope, inaccurate test kits, and enforcement actions targeted mainly at certified renovators has only hindered industry recovery efforts,” added O’Brien.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers also commended the legislation’s introduction.

“We applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for sponsoring this bill to make much-needed improvements to EPA’s lead paint rule during this busy time in Congress,” says 2012 NAHB Remodelers chairman George “Geep” Moore Jr., GMB, CAPS, GMR, a remodeler from Elm Grove, La. “If this effort is successful, it will reduce the regulatory burden for remodelers facing costly penalties for first-time violations like misfiled paperwork and allow home owners to make the final decision about renovations in their homes.”

Moore adds, “We need to concentrate our efforts on helping the families that this law was designed to protect,” says Moore. “We support the intent of the lead paint rule to prevent childhood lead poisoning and believe that the provisions in this bill will encourage greater compliance by home owners. Common sense exemptions for emergency renovations and online recertification training are necessary improvements for remodelers and home owners to fully comply with the rule.”

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) also praised the legislation.

“The remodeling and retrofit market has been the main source of business for many dealers during the prolonged housing recession, either through installed sales operations, serving remodeler customers, or both,” says NLBMDA chair Cally Fromme, executive vice president of Zarsky Lumber Company in Victoria, Texas. “EPA’s efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children, its mismanaged implementation, and its failure to approve an accurate lead test kit meeting its own rule have been an extreme burden on the one segment of the residential market that has been sustaining many businesses. We commend Sen. Inhofe for his leadership on this issue, and we will make passage of the bill a priority.”

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  1. The LRRP rule is very similar to the rule that says we have to have a Chauffeurs license to drive some of our trucks, but a lay person can go to any rental place and drive away with a 16′ cube truck. We are way more qualified to drive these vehicles than the lay people who rent them but we have the expense of training and logs and safety inspections and more.

    LRRP allows a huge group of DIYers to renovate their homes without compliance or even the vaguest idea of what they are doing with potentially harmful dust. Add to that, if a homeowner has their windows replaced, then proceeds to scrape the walls and paint them, and then a child gets sick, who do you suppose the officials will be going after. And then the fines begin because of faulty paperwork.

    No one likes paperwork, especially the hands on workers. They want to spend the daylight hours focussed on the work at hand. So, the business has to spend additional money to monitor the process and so on. It is a domino effect of costs that the government doesn’t concern themselves with. Early in the LRRP days, they even said it should only add 10.00 to the cost of a window. That shows how oblivious the gov was about the ramifications of this rule.

    My company spent over 2000.00 just to educate and license my workers and sales people. Then add the 800.00 vacuums and wipes and huge amount of plastic that just get thrown away after each window . The plastic is oil based. I thought we were trying to get away from dependency on oil…lol. But seriously, can you imagine the tons of that stuff that fills our land fills? Let’s not forget the signage and the caution tape and that the homeowner can not use their home while we work. The list goes on, but 10.00 per window?

    The gov got way ahead a proper thought process. We need better test kits AND they need to be affordable. Just one window can require the use of 4 tests. And why not come up with a paper protectors for the floors and walls or something that can be recycled. Paper is a renewable resource.
    Meanwhile, the DIYers continue to spend millions of dollars on home rennovation with no rules to follow and the gov continues to let the gas companies blast rocks to get at the gas which leaches into the aquifer such that you can light the water with a Bic lighter (FACT). Or how about the intercity factory worker that has to wipe off his car, daily, from the pollution that accumulates from dirty smoke stacks. How healthy is that?

    This LRRP rule started from pressure from some concerned citizens but has snowballed into a monster that has cost businesses millions of dollars, some of which gets passed along to the homeowners.

    I sat next to a guy in my LRRP training who had worked on old homes for over 30 years. He had tests to see how much lead he had in his body and the results were well below the danger level. Yes, children and pregnant women are at risk, but I even question that in many of the renovations that go on. Those kids could just as easily get contaminated by living in that house. There is always dust at the base of wood windows. The rules need to be relaxed to something with more common sense in the guidelines. Sorry for the rant but it needs to be said.

  2. this repeal is long over due we have to vote mr obuma out of office he is the one that has pushed for this insane red tape rule in 2006 as a senetor again this just hurts the consumers pocket books and remodelers are getting out of the bussiness because of this joke of a rule vote mitt romney 2012

  3. This was not a bad idea but as usual GOV went way over the top and all they did was hurt more people than it helped. It’s very frustrating that we have to deal with these things because of men with no common sense but great power

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