New House Bill Would Curb RRP Rules

June 8, 2012

Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and a bipartisan list of co-sponsors introduced legislation yesterday that would restore the opt-out provision to the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Repair, Renovation and Painting rule. H.R. 5911, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012, is similar to legislation introduced in the Senate earlier this year by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Said to help homeowners and remodelers to better comply with the costly work practices and record keeping requirements of the rule without compromising safety standards, the House legislation is supported by a broad coalition of building industry associations. "We commend Reps. Sullivan and Murphy for championing this bill that will not only make the EPA's lead paint rule more workable, but continue to protect pregnant women and small children," says George "Geep" Moore Jr., a Louisiana remodeler and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders' Remodelers' Council. "This legislation will provide families greater flexibility to decide on their own remodeling activities and give them the peace of mind of knowing sound safeguards remain in place to protect against lead hazards."

"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," says Michael O'Brien, president of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "The Sullivan-Murphy bill is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Congressmen Sullivan and Murphy for their leadership on this issue."

According to NAHB, both the House and Senate bills include provisions that would:

  • Reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in them - not the government -- to decide whether to require LRRP compliance.
  • Suspend the LRRP if EPA does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation's requirements.
  • Allow remodelers to reduce fines if they correct paperwork errors found during an inspection.
  • Eliminate the "hands on" recertification training requirements that force some remodelers to travel long distances to training facilities to receive proper certification.
  • Prohibit 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.

Other groups supporting the new legislation include the National Lumber & Building Materials Association and the Window & Door Dealers Alliance.  "The WDDA applauds the initiative–particularly its multi-prong reach to tackle a number issues," says David Walker, VP. "It is yet another coal on the fire to keep pressure building on policy makers to reinstate the opt-out; and, when passed, will help with a number of other areas–including commercial."