Washington — The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for reintroducing legislation reforming the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. H.R. 2328 was introduced yesterday by Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and would reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and young children from lead hazards. NLBMDA has worked with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to scrutinize EPA’s implementation and enforcement of the rule.
The RRP rule requires renovation work in pre-1978 homes to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator. In July 2010, EPA removed the “opt-out” provision from the rule that allowed homeowners without children under age six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of the arduous work practices required by the rule. The removal of the opt-out provision doubled the number of homes subject to the rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment adds more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community, including homeowners.
In addition, EPA has failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives, in violation of its own rules. The lack of EPA compliant test kits has even resulted in some consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.
“EPA has done a poor job of implementing the RRP rule, including failing to approve accurate test kits and removing the opt-out provision after the rule took effect,” said NLBMDA President & CEO Jonathan Paine. “Reform is needed to make the rule workable for remodelers while protecting pregnant women and young children from lead exposure.”
Among its key provisions, H.R. 2328 would restore the “opt-out” clause, suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 when a young child or pregnant woman does not live in the home (if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives), prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.
In addition to Rep. Cramer, the original cosponsors of H.R. 2328 are Reps. Rod Blum (R-IA), Chris Collins (R-NY), Charles Fleischmann (R-TN), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). NLBMDA has made passage of H.R. 2328 a top legislative priority.
Everyone with an interest in residential remodeling should take action now by visiting NLBMDA’s Legislative Action Center and contacting their Representative to support H.R. 2328.