U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation that aims to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA from expanding enforcement of its lead renovation, repair and painting rule (LRRP) to cover commercial buildings.
Specifically, the legislation calls on the EPA to “submit to Congress and make available for public comment (after peer review) the results of a study of the extent to which persons engaged in various types of renovation and remodeling activities in target housing, public buildings constructed before 1978, or commercial buildings are exposed to lead in the conduct of such activities and disturb lead and create a lead-based paint hazard on a regular or occasional basis in the conduct of such activities.” The legislation says the study should be provided “not later than one year prior to proposing any renovation and remodeling regulation after the date of enactment of the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012.”
Additionally, H.R. 2093, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013, would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to restore the “Opt-Out Provision,” which previously allowed homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in the home to decide whether to require LRRP, and it would suspend the previously instated LRRP rule if EPA cannot approve one or more commercially available test kits that meet the regulation’s requirements.
The EPA announced earlier this year that it would pursue lead renovation rulemaking for commercial buildings. This announcement came five years after the EPA issued a final rule to address lead-based paint hazards created by renovations and repairs in homes and child-occupied facilities. The 2008 rule established requirements for training renovators, other renovation workers and dust sampling technicians; for certifying renovators, dust sampling technicians and renovation firms; for accrediting providers of renovation and dust sampling technician training; for renovation work practices; and for recordkeeping.
Murphy was joined by 21 cosponsors in his introduction of the legislation and issued the following statement about his efforts.
“My bill protects children’s health without burdening homeowners and contractors with costly regulations that have little relevance in routine home repair and upkeep,” says Murphy.
The statement from Murphy’s office also notes that the bill “is supported by a strong coalition of home builders, contractors and remodelers who are struggling to comply with the rule.”
Several industry groups have applauded the legislation. Among these is the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
“Not only should EPA cease from creating yet another rule that it cannot justify, properly regulate, nor provide the required testing equipment to affect, the EPA must recognize that neither the 2008 lead rule nor the 2010 removal of the ‘opt-out’ provision have resulted in enhancing the previous and irrefutable annual reductions seen in childhood blood lead levels witnessed and documented across the country by the CPC during the past 10 years,” says Rich Walker, president and CEO of AAMA.
He adds, “Additionally, reports issued by the EPA Office of Inspector General and the Science Advisory Board (convened to examine the EPA’s Approach for Developing Lead Dust Hazard Standards for Residences and Approach for Developing Lead Dust Hazard Standards for Public and Commercial Buildings), raise concerns over the validity of information utilized by EPA to develop the existing lead rules and plans for considering the promulgation of the LRRP Commercial Rule. Before the EPA considers the promulgation of additional RRP rules, it must first reexamine the studies and data used to develop the existing lead rules and offer stakeholders within the residential and commercial renovation industries substantive evidence of any positive impact.”
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) also expressed optimism about the legislation’s residential provisions.
“While the housing market slowly improves, the door and window retrofit market has played a large part in sustaining our industry,” says Michael O’Brien, president and CEO of WDMA. “The EPA is unnecessarily hurting our economic recovery and consumers’ ability to get new energy-efficient products into their homes by expanding the lead rule beyond its original intent.”