WASHINGTON, DC - The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) today commended the introduction of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would reform the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule to reduce the burden the regulation has placed on the remodeling, retrofit and installed sales markets while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards. The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2013 (H.R. 2093) was introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and twenty-one cosponsors.

The LRRP rule requires renovation work that disturbs more than six square feet on the interior of a pre-1978 home and all window and door replacement to follow rigorous and costly work practices supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and requires that it be performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm. In July 2010, EPA removed the "opt-out provision" from the rule which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of the rigorous work practices required by it. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment adds more than $336 million per year in compliance costs.

In addition, despite EPA stating a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives would be on the market when the rule took effect in 2010, no test kit on the market meets this standard. The lack of EPA approved test kits meeting the rule's standard for false positives has added millions in compliance costs for consumers who wind up paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

Among its key provisions, H.R. 2093 would: 1) restore the "opt-out" clause; 2) suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1978 without a pregnant woman or small child present if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives; 3) prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts research demonstrating the need for such action; and 4) provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations.

"This industry faced some tough years when the housing market crashed, and retrofit and remodeling work was critical in keeping some dealers in business. We completely support the goal of protecting small children and pregnant woman from lead, but EPA has trampled over the original intent of the Lead Rule," said NLBMDA Chairman Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Georgia. "EPA's forceful focus on paperwork violations, failure to approve a lead test kit meeting its own standards, and ever broadening interpretation of the rule is having a chilling effect on our industry's ability to have installed sales operations, serve remodelers, and get energy efficient products into homes. We applaud Congressman Murphy for his continued leadership on this issue and we will make H.R. 2093 a top legislative priority."

In addition to Rep. Murphy, the original cosponsors of H.R. 2093 are Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Ralph Hall (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), Robert Latta (R-OH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Billy Long (R-MO), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rich Nugent (R-FL), Pete Olson (R-TX), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA). A Senate version of this legislation was introduced as S.484 by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) in March.

NLBMDA has made passage of H.R. 2093 and S. 484 top legislative priorities.

Source: NLBMDA

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