Inside EPA: Bid To Delay Lead Paint Rules
May 6, 2010
Posted by Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov
In the News...
Bid To Delay Lead Paint Rules
May 05, 2010
Congressional Republicans are spearheading efforts to force EPA to delay implementing new rules aimed at limiting lead dust exposure from home repair projects, backing industry concerns that not enough contractors have been trained to comply with the new rules.
The agency April 22 implemented the lead renovation, repair and painting (LRRP) rule, which requires contractors working on homes, childcare facilities and schools built before 1978 to receive certification to use specific work practices designed to prevent lead contamination. The same day, EPA finalized a modification to the rule removing an "opt-out" provision that would have allowed contractors to avoid those requirements for work on pre-1978 homes that did not have young children or pregnant women living in them.
Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT) April 29 introduced a bill that would delay implementation of the LRRP rule for at least a year, as industry has said is necessary to allow sufficient time for contractors to be trained. Rehberg's bill, H.R. 5177, would prohibit the EPA from implementing the rule "in each state" until accreditation classes have been held in that state for at least one year. The bill also would require the EPA administrator to monitor training efforts in each state and inform each state's members of Congress when a sufficient number of classes have been held.
Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have introduced identical companion legislation in the Senate, along with 22 co-sponsors. In a May 4 speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe said no classes were publicly available in his home state, and he said EPA's estimate of having trained 160,000 contractors to date was too low to ensure that all contractors who do work on regulated homes can get the certification they need. Industry representatives have previously said EPA is failing to achieve its goal of training 236,000 workers it set two years ago.
EPA's decision to eliminate the opt-out provision also came over objections from industries that said the rule would be too costly and that EPA had not yet trained a sufficient number of contractors to implement it.
EPA said removing the opt-out provision, which becomes effective 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register, was necessary to protect pregnant women or young children who may move into recently renovated home and to limit lead exposure among adults, among other reasons.