Question: As a small single-family-home rehabber, I’ve been following the EPA Lead RRP law. Although the intent of the law is fine—and a good 15 years in the making—it has every possibility of putting the small rehabber out of business. Testing, containment and waste treatment, as well as additional general contractor material and labor costs, are expensive. But the fines of up to $37,500 could sink the rehab market and bankrupt small rehab/remodel businesses in a single day. My company is an LLC; a couple infractions and I have to walk away from my business. Obviously some fine needs to be in place, but why are these fines so high and potentially damaging?
Ron Grahek, president
RRI Properties LLC
Answer: It is EPA practice not to discuss its strategies for monitoring compliance with or enforcing various regulatory programs. What we can say is that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) provides for monetary penalties for violations of TSCA or TSCA regulations, such as the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. In determining the appropriate level of enforcement response and amount of any civil penalty, EPA takes into account the nature, circumstance, extent and gravity of the violation. With respect to the violator, EPA considers ability to pay, effect on ability to continue to do business, history of prior such violations, degree of culpability and other matters as justice may require. EPA uses this last factor to reduce or eliminate any financial or competitive advantage gained by the violator as a result of his failure to follow TSCA or its implementing regulations. Because each enforcement case is unique, it is handled individually and we can’t say something that may adversely affect a future enforcement case.
Michael E. Bellot, chief
Chemical Risk and Reporting Enforcement Branch Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division Office of Civil Enforcement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Editor’s Note: View the appendices of the “Consolidated Enforcement Response and Penalty Policy for the Pre-Renovation Education Rule; Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule; and Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule” at www.qualifiedremodeler.com. The appendices show how EPA categorizes penalties.