Today Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and nine bipartisan co-sponsors introduced the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 (H.R. 5911), companion legislation to S.2148 introduced in the Senate in March.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 will:

  • Reinstate the opt-out provision to allow homeowners without small children or pregnant women residing in the home to decide whether to require Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule compliance, not the government.
  • Suspend the RRP rule if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation’s requirements.
  • Allow remodelers the “right to cure” paperwork errors found during an inspection.
  • Eliminate the “hands-on” recertification training requirements.
  • Prohibit the EPA from expanding the RRP 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.

Industry Response

"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 women and small children and we applaud Congressmen Sullivan and Murphy for their leadership on this issue."

The RRP 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.

In July 2010, the 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, the EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the RRP rule, and the EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs to the regulated community, including homeowners.

In addition to Reps. Sullivan and Murphy, the original co-sponsors of H.R. 5911 are Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Tom Cole (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Billy Long (R-MO), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Aaron Schock (R-IL).

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma also introduced RRP reform legislation earlier this year.

The WDMA says that it has made passage of H.R. 5911 and S.2148 a top legislative priority.

REMODELING will continue to closely follow the progress of this legislation.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor,REMODELING.