Legislation Introduced to Change LRRP Rule; Would Restore Opt-Out ClauseMarch 2nd, 2012 by DWM Magazine
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.”