Remodeling and construction industry associations are throwing their support behind Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act he introduced last week. The bill's primary goal is to reinstate the opt-out provision of the Lead Repair, Renovation, and Painting Rule, which was removed from the rule by EPA two years ago.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) says its membership overwhelmingly agrees that restoring the opt-out to the rule makes the most sense for both remodeling professionals and their homeowner clients. In a simple one-question survey, NARI's government affairs committee asked: "In 2008, EPA finalized its EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rules with an 'opt-out' provision that would have allowed homeowners to waive special work practices if there were no pregnant women or children under 6 living in the home. Two years later, EPA decided to remove the opt-out provision. Should NARI support legislation that restores the "opt-out" provision?"
A whopping 92% of respondents agreed that restoring the opt-out rule made the most sense. "I truly believe that as professional remodelers, we must be cognizant of our customer’s health and safety," one respondent wrote. "However, once they are educated concerning lead hazards, ultimately, they should be able to make their own decisions regarding this issue."
In another NARI survey of homeowners, deployed in June 2011, 51% of homeowners agreed with the statement, “I want the option to opt-out of the EPA’s RRP regulations.”
NARI says it continues to work actively with the EPA on ways the agency can educate the public on the importance of hiring EPA-certified remodelers to do work on homes built before 1978. NARI also continues to push the agency for tougher enforcement of the rules, and to crack down on firms lacking EPA certification that are violating the rule and failing to protect homeowners. The association takes the position that, consistent with President Obama's Regulatory Reform Initiative, LRRP should be reformed to better accomplish its stated goal: to eliminate lead hazards in the home as a result of renovation activities. “EPA’s current rules add costs to remodeling jobs regardless of whether people are at risk," says NARI Government Affairs Committee vice-chair Christopher Wright. "Higher costs, without an obvious link to protecting children and pregnant women, has prompted most home owners to do work themselves or to hire non-licensed contractors.