Montana Congressman Helps Ease the LRRP Burden for ContractorsJuly 14th, 2011 by Editor
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill on July 12. This included an approved amendment offered by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) to stop funding of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) activities until an accurate test kit has been developed.
“This is exactly the sort of regulatory bungling that’s costing us jobs and slowing economic recovery,” says Rehberg. “If the EPA is going to create a bunch of hoops for small businesses to jump through, the very least they can do is give them the tools they need to comply with the rules. Instead of growing their businesses and creating jobs, these hard working business men and women are stuck picking up the EPA’s slack. Meanwhile the EPA is out creating even more paralyzing regulation. This has got to stop, and my amendment does that.”
The LRRP mandated that contractors can only use EPA-approved test kits and took effect last September.
“It’s July 2011, and there is still not an EPA-approved test kit,” says a press release issued by Rehberg’s office.
Rehberg’s proposed amendment requests that no funding go toward the enforcement or implementation of the lead rule until the EPA certifies a lead testing kit that meets the false positive and false negative criteria that they themselves laid out.
Industry associations, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, banded together earlier this week and sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations pledging their support for Rehberg’s amendment.
“The regulation requires EPA to have a commercially-available lead testing kit that meets specific criteria for both false-positive and false negative rates by September 1, 2010,” write the groups. “EPA’s entire economic analysis for the RRP, and its impact on small businesses, is dependent upon the availability of this test kit because the original kit (Phase I) provided false-positive rates that greatly exceeded the regulation’s requirements. To date, no new accurate test kit exists and, consequently, contractors are forced to use older kits that, by virtue of their inaccuracy, are forcing compliance with lead-safe work practices on homes that otherwise would have tested negative. This means higher costs for consumers that likely do not have lead-based paint in their homes that would require compliance with the lead rule.”
In fact, the WDMA worked very closely with Rehberg’s office on the amendment, and WDMA president Mike O’Brien says the association will continue to work with the House and Senate to gain full support for the bill when it comes time for a vote.
“We remain determined to require a Congressional review of the mishandling of this rule,” says Richard Walker, AAMA’s president and CEO. “The inability of the EPA to properly monitor compliance with the LRRP final rule and ‘opt-out’ amendment is now jeopardizing the very segment of the U.S. population deemed most ‘at risk’ by EPA’s own assessment, in addition to impeding a recovery of construction jobs and energy-efficient home retrofitting across the country.
Indeed, more work is yet to be done and the WDMA will continue to work toward passage of the amendment on behalf of the fenestration industry.
“WDMA worked closely with our coaltion partners here in Washington to secure passage of the Rehberg Amendment,” says O’Brien. “We will now need to seek passage in the full House and Senate. If EPA is going to enforce the lead rule on the regulated community, we expect EPA to adhere to the rule as well. WDMA is continuing to pursue modification of the rule through the courts and will seek additional legislative vehicles to stop the agressive expansion of the rule that EPA is seeking.”