Industry Coalition Continues to Push for EPA Delay

March 17, 2010
Government

A coalition of construction and building product industry groups wrote a letter to Congressional leaders last week requesting a delay in the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead  Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. The letter argues that EPA is not ready to implement the LRRP laws starting on April 22. 

Sent specifically to Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the letter also notes that, if implemented now, the LRRP will negatively affect economic stimulus funding designated for housing weatherization and planned efforts for a national residential retrofit program. "Your respective committees have passed legislation to incentivize energy efficiency upgrades in older homes and buildings—the same housing stock subject to the LRRP," the groups argue. "We agree this is an effective approach towards improving building energy efficiency. However, we also see that new proposals, such as the multi-billion dollar Home Star for residential retrofits, designed to quickly create jobs through efficiency upgrades to older homes, is at risk of derailing compliance with the LRRP, or vice versa, that compliance with the LRRP will subvert the ability to deliver jobs and save energy in the oldest, least-efficient housing stock."

The letter reports that EPA currently has only 135 accredited trainers and 13,669 certified renovators nationwide, although its own estimates indicate that it needs at least 200,000 or more certified renovators. "Obviously, these numbers are far too insufficient for the millions of renovations carried out annually, even without a substantial retrofit incentive program like Home Star," the organizations note.

The letter, which also supports the goals of EPA, was signed by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, the  National Association of Home Builders, the Window and Door Dealers Alliance, the National Glass Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the Vinyl Siding Institute, as well as The Home Depot and Lowe's Cos.

White House meetings
EPA has stated that it was considering delaying the effective date, currently scheduled for implementation on April 22, 2010.  WDDA reported last week it and a number of other organizations are meeting with the White House's Office of Management and Budget, and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs today to encourage a delay. 

"We support the EPA's efforts to ensure that home renovations in pre-1978 homes are conducted in accordance with the LRRP requirements for lead-based paint renovation, repair and painting, including installation of windows," says Rich Walker, president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, which supports the coalition of building industry organizations and is also meeting with White House officials today. "We also support the spirit of the LRRP to protect the health and safety of pregnant women and small children. However, we must caution Congress and consumers that we do not believe EPA is prepared to adequately implement the LRRP nor to provide enough EPA-certified renovation contractors."

Considering the potential economic impact of EPA's LRRP, Walker also warns, "It is imperative, given the already difficult economy, that contractors, manufacturers and consumers are aware of the potential increased expense of this new requirement. Hopefully, potential higher fees for window installation will not prohibit consumers from investing in more energy-efficient products."