WDMA Commends Introduction of EPA Lead Rule Reform Legislation in Senate

WDMA
March 7, 2013
Government

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association commends the introduction of legislation last night in the U.S. Senate that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule to reduce the burden the regulation has placed on the home retrofit market while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards, according to a March 7 WDMA release. The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (S. 484) was introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and six cosponsors Wednesday night. WDMA has been working toward re-introduction of the legislation in the Senate following the introduction of a Senate bill in 2012 that expired at the end of the last congressional session. In addition to Senator Inhofe, the original cosponsors of S. 484 are Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and David Vitter (R-LA), according to the release.

"Since the EPA Lead Rule took effect in April 2010, 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," said WDMA President Michael O'Brien, in a WDMA release. "The Inhofe bill is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Senator Inhofe 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, according to the release. 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 the rigorous work practices required by it. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment adds more than $336 million per year in compliance costs for homeowners and contractors, according to the release.

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. The lack of EPA approved test kits meeting the rule's standard for false positives has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results, according to the release.

"The window and door retrofit market has been key to sustaining the industry and preserving jobs as housing slowly recovers from a prolonged downturn. EPA's efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original scope, inaccurate test kits, and enforcement actions targeted mainly at certified renovators has only hindered industry recovery efforts," added O'Brien, in the release.
 
Among its key provisions, S. 484 would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 without a pregnant woman or small child living there 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 research demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations. WDMA has made passage of S. 484 a top legislative priority.