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Responding to concerns from NAHB Remodelers, affiliated trade groups and other contractors in his home state and the rest of the country, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) is putting additional pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to make much-needed improvements to the Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting rule.
During a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, July 12, Rehberg will offer an amendment to the Department of the Interior’s appropriations bill that would make it more difficult for the EPA to enforce the rule by restricting its funding until the agency approves a test kit that meets the “false positive” and “false negative” criteria stated in the regulation.
NAHB is asking its members to immediately urge members of the Appropriations Committee to support Rehberg’s amendment by calling or emailing their offices. The representatives can be reached through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. For emails, go to the congressmen's websites, which can be found by Googling their names.
“We would prefer to not see the appropriations process become a vehicle for policy changes,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Bob Peterson CGR, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler in Fort Collins, Colo.
“Unfortunately, the EPA has not responded to NAHB’s reasonable requests for changes through the usual public participation process — so the appropriation process is all that is left,” he said.
In addition, NAHB led a coalition of 24 stakeholders including the Associated General Contractors of America, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, National Association of Realtors® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to send a letter of support to the committee.
“We urge you to adopt the Rehberg Amendment and require the U.S. EPA to comply with its own regulation regarding renovation work in homes and buildings that may contain lead-based paint,” the letter said.
“To be very clear, we fully support efforts to protect children and pregnant women from exposures to lead-based paint in homes and buildings,” the letter said. But because there is no accurate test kit available, “the EPA has made compliance with the regulation as difficult and as inordinately burdensome as possible while simultaneously not complying itself.”
Currently, the best EPA-approved test kit available indicates the presence of lead-based paint with a “false positive” of 16%, significantly higher than the 10% maximum required by the regulation.
As a result, “contractors are forced to use older kits that, by virtue of their inaccuracy, are forcing compliance with lead-safe work practices on homes that otherwise would have tested negative. This means higher costs for consumers that likely do not have lead-based paint in their homes that would require compliance with the lead rule,” the letter said.
“We fully support the Rehberg Amendment to withhold enforcement and implementation funding of the RRP until the EPA meets the obligations under its own regulation and approves a commercially-available lead test kit that meets the criteria EPA specified,” it said.
For additional information about lead paint rule enforcement and compliance, visit www.nahb.org/leadpaint.