The U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on May 15 that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule to reduce the burden the rule has placed on the home retrofit market while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. This legislation was the key focus of a recent Window and Door Manufacturers Association Legislative Conference.
The "Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2015" (H.R. 2328) was introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and nine original cosponsors. Cramer is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this issue.
"Since the inception of the EPA Lead Rule five years ago, 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 and CEO Michael O'Brien. "This legislation is a common-sense fix which will refocus efforts on protecting the targeted demographic and was one of the key issues WDMA members lobbied on during our recent Legislative Conference. We applaud Congressman Cramer 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 window and door replacement 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.
In addition, 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.
Among the key provisions, this bill would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the rule if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit meeting the regulation's requirements, 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.
WDMA has made this issue a top legislative priority and has set up a grassroots action center where industry professionals can send a message to their House member urging them to cosponsor the legislation. Click here for more and to send a message to your House member.
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