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EPA Revamps Plans to Regulate Lead Paint

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completely revamped its timeline and approach to regulating lead paint dust in commercial and public buildings. The Agency recently signed a revised litigation settlement with environmental groups that gives EPA four more years—until December 31, 2016—to take final action. AGC will continue to call for greater transparency, accountability and oversight in the development of national rules covering Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) activities.  As reported by AGC at great length, EPA formally announced in an April 2010 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it was on its way to proposing brand new federal rules to guard against lead-based paint hazards that may occur during the renovation or repair of commercial and public buildings. 


AGC’s efforts, through letters to EPA and push for more Congressional oversight, have resulted in a significant delay in EPA’s issuance of new regulations. For two years, AGC has worked with a coalition of real estate development groups to submit multiple letters to EPA questioning the science and legal basis behind expansion of the LRRP program; the lack of lead test kits with improved false/positive readings; the inability of EPA to properly monitor compliance; and the detrimental impact on the current administration’s focus on job creation and energy-efficient renovations. 
 

EPA has four more years to finalize an approach to regulating lead paint dust in commercial and public buildings. The current LRRP Program – meaning the one that was finalized in 2008 and took full effect on April 22,  2010 – remains unchanged and still applies only to paid contractors who perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities and schools.


Recently, EPA’s Inspector General reported on the findings of an investigation into the agency's economic analysis of the LRRP rule, as it’s currently on the books. Not surprisingly, that report determined that EPA underestimated the rule’s cost and overestimated its benefits. The Inspector General's report underscores the need for Congressional oversight of EPA’s lead program. The report recommends that EPA reexamine the costs and benefits of the current rule to determine whether it should be modified in accordance with the Obama Administration's directive to reform unnecessary and burdensome regulations. The inspector's report further recommends that the EPA revise its training manual to more clearly distinguish which work practices are mandatory.

Senate legislation introduced last March (S. 2148) would require EPA to carefully study any possible lead-based paint hazards in commercial buildings — and submit its findings to Congress for review — before proposing regulations covering the commercial and public building sectors. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House (H.R. 5911).

AGC supports both pieces of legislation currently under consideration in Congress and will remain actively engaged in congressional outreach, small-business review and legal research efforts designed to hold EPA accountable for the quality of the data and information it uses to support any expansion of this federal program. For more in-depth information on AGC’s efforts, please click here.

For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org

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