[Washington, DC] - The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) today commended Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for introducing legislation yesterday to reform EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule to reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced S.2148, the "Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments of 2012," along with Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mike Enzi (R-WY). NLBMDA has been promoting the legislation for several months.
"The remodeling and retrofit market has been the main source of business for many dealers during the prolonged housing recession, either through installed sales operations, serving remodeler customers, or both," said NLBMDA Chair Cally Fromme, Executive VicePresident of Zarsky Lumber Company in Victoria, Tex. "EPA's efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children, its mismanaged implementation, and its failure to approve an accurate lead test kit meeting its own rule have been an extreme burden on the one segment of the residential market that has been sustaining many businesses. We commend Sen. Inhofe for his leadership on this issue, and we will make passage of the bill a priority."
The LRRP rule requires renovation work in pre-1978 homes to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator. 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. The removal of the opt-out provision doubled the number of homes subject to the rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community.
In addition, EPA has failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives, in violation of its own rules. The lack of EPA compliant test kits has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.
Among its key provisions, S. 2148 would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit that meet the regulation's requirements, and provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations.
NLBMDA will be making S.2148 one of the priority issues for its Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference next week in Washington.
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