The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delayed enforcement of its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) to Oct. 1. The rule had become effective on April 22. This delay is a response to concerns raised by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, its building industry coalition allies and several members of Congress, according to the trade group.
The extension allows remodeling firms and their employees additional time to be certified by the EPA. All remodelers still have to abide by current lead-safe work practices, whether they're certified or not.
Groups will fight loss of EPA opt-out provision
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association, along with a coalition of housing industry associations, filed suit in federal appeals court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for removing the opt-out provision from its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
The National Association of Home Builders, the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association joined the WDMA in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The coalition is challenging the removal of the opt-out provision on the grounds that EPA substantially amended the LRRP rule without any new scientific data and before the regulation was put into place April 22.
WDMA president Michael O'Brien says the association appreciates the EPA responding to its concerns, but does not consider it a victory by any means. He says serious concerns remain with many aspects of the rule, including the removal of the opt-out provision.
The fear is that removal of the opt-out provision, which had allowed homeowners to decline the mandate that only EPA-certified firms work on their pre-1978 home (provided there were no children younger than six years of age or a pregnant woman in the residence), will severely dampen the remodeling market. It could also cause homeowners to skirt the system.
"The real problem is that contractors who have taken steps to get certified are explaining to consumers what additional steps have to be taken for their jobs to be complete and consumers are just balking or going and finding uncertified contractors who will do the job for less," says O'Brien.
The EPA has acknowledged the need for additional time for renovation firms and workers to become trained and certified under the rule. The specific delays are:
- Until Oct. 1, the EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the RRP Rule's firm certification requirement.
- For violations of the RRP Rule's renovation worker certification requirement, the EPA will not enforce against individual renovation workers if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by no later than Sept. 30, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for compliance with the final rules. Renovators must complete the training by Dec. 31.
This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue.