The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) applauded introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to reform the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. H.R.5911, the "Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012," was introduced today by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and would reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. Similar NLBMDA-supported legislation (S.2148) was introduced in the Senate in March.
The LRRP rule requires renovation work in pre-1978 homes to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator. In July 2010, EPA removed the "opt-out" provision from the rule that allowed homeowners without children under age six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of the arduous work practices required by the rule. The removal of the opt-out provision doubled the number of homes subject to the rule, and 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, EPA has failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives, in violation of its own rules. The lack of EPA compliant test kits has resulted in some consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.
"The NLBMDA and our members have worked tirelessly to reform the misguided EPA lead rule, and the introduction of legislation in the House of Representatives shows that our industry concerns are being heard on Capitol Hill," said NLBMDA Chair Cally Fromme, Executive Vice President of Zarsky Lumber Company in Victoria, Texas. "We commend Congressmen Sullivan and Murphy and appreciate their leadership on this issue. We will make passage of this bill a top priority."
Among its key provisions, H.R. 5911 would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kit that meets the regulation's requirements, prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.
In addition to Reps. Sullivan and Murphy, the original cosponsors of the bill 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).
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) represents its members in the national public policy arena, with emphasis on efforts to 1) promote the industry and educate legislators and public policy personnel; and 2) assist legislative, regulatory, standard-setting and other government or private bodies in the development of laws, regulations and policies affecting lumber and building material dealers, its customers and suppliers. Founded in 1917, the association has over 6,000 members operating single or multiple lumber yards and component plants serving homebuilders, subcontractors, general contractors, and consumers in the new construction, repair and remodeling of residential and light commercial.