Legislation Proposed to Amend EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule

Remodelers and renovators will keep a watchful (and hopeful) eye on this new legislation.

Responding to concerns from the National Association of Home Builders, remodelers and affiliated trade groups, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced legislation to make much-needed improvements to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule on March 1, 2012.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 (S. 2148) was introduced with five original cosponsors: Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). The rule, which took effect on 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.

 

On July 6, 2010, 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.  By removing the opt-out provision, the EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP, and the agency has estimated this will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community. 

 

Further, the EPA has failed to approve a test kit that meets the “false positive” and “false negative” criteria stated in the regulation. By not performing a study of lead exposure rates from work on commercial and public buildings, the agency has also exceeded its mandate granted by Congress by starting the process of extending the LRRP to those structures through an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. 

 

Sen. Inhofe’s legislation would address these concerns and offer other reforms for EPA enforcement of the lead paint rule. Specifically, the bill would: 

 

  • Reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in them to decide whether to require LRRP compliance, not the government.
  • Suspend the LRRP if EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.
  • Allow remodelers the “right to cure” paperwork errors found during an inspection.
  • Eliminate the “hands on” recertification training requirements.
  • 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.
  • Clarify the definition of “abatement” to specifically exclude remodeling and renovation activities.
  • Provide an exemption to the regulation for emergency renovations.

New Lehigh Valley Office for Governor's Action Team

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development announced last week the opening of a new office for the Governor's Action Team (GAT) in the Lehigh Valley.  The office will serve Berks, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties.  A map of all of the GAT regions and a list of the regional directors can be found here

In a recent article,  Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker was quoted as saying the following with regard to the new office:

  • "This new office will give us the ability to respond more effectively to the job-creating opportunities presented by an increased level of business expansion and attraction activity in the region" 
  •  "We look forward to working with our local economic development partners and elected officials in the region to continue bringing economic investment and new jobs to Pennsylvania."

The Governor's Action Team is a group of economic development professionals who work with businesses that are looking to expand, locate or relocate in Pennsylvania, with a special emphasis on job creation in Pennsylvania. 

Team PA Foundation's website provides one example of how Team PA Foundation and GAT assisted a Spanish wind energy company that was looking to expand its operations in the United States and expressed an interest in coming to Pennsylvania.

 

Are you looking to expand or locate your business in Pennsylvania?  GAT may be able to provide you with assistance in site selection as well as provide forms of funding opportunities related to job creation.