Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives caught up with their Senate colleagues May 22 by introducing legislation to lighten the burdens imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule.
H.R. 2093 was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee, where the bill's principal sponsor, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) heads the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. It's identical to legislation introduced in the last Congress and is the companion to S. 484, introduced in the Senate in March.
Both measures take aim at the RRP rule, which took effect in April 2010 and seeks to protect contractors and individuals from health dangers that arise from exposure to dust from lead paint. The rule requires that tests be conducted and safety procedures be followed when working in homes built before 1978--the last year that use of lead paint in a home was allowed. From the start, construction contractors, window manufacturers, and building material dealers have condemned the measure as overly broad and burdensome.
A key provision in both H.R. 2093 and S. 484 would restore an opt-out provision that enables a homeowner to forego RRP compliance if they attest there are no small children or pregnant women in the home. That opt-out had been in the measure until the final rule was issued. Several industry groups have cited EPA figures suggesting that removing the opt-out increased Americans' cost of complying with the rule by roughly $336 million and doubled the number of homes subject to RRP.
According to NAHB Remodelers, the bill also would allow remodelers to correct paperwork errors without facing full penalties, provide an exemption for emergency renovations, and eliminate the requirement that recertification training be "hands on," so that remodelers would no longer have to travel to training facilities out of their region.
A statement by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) said the measure suspends RRP for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 if no small children are pregnant women live there and if EPA cannot approve a test kit that meets its own standard. Several associations that dislike RRP have stressed that the rule makes no sense if there aren't reliable kits that can test for lead-paint dust.
WDMA's summary also said the bill prohibits expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA issues a study demonstrating the need for such expansion.
NAHB Remodelers, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, WDMA, and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association all issued statements praising the House action.