White House Opposes Bill to Defund RRP

On July 21, 2011, the White House announced their opposition to any funding restrictions for RRP in general, and Bill H.R. 2584 in particular. (click on link, then on HR 2584 entry). 

In a statement in opposing the House Bill 2584, the "Department of Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill 2012, the White House stated: "If the President is presented with a bill that undermines ongoing conservation, public health, and environmental protection efforts through funding limits or restrictions, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill."

This bill contains a provision regarding defunding the RRP rule, to which the White House remarked:  "Section 450 of the bill prohibits funding for EPA to implement the 2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, as amended, until after industry develops and EPA approves different lead paint test kits."

The full announcement went on to specifically support RRP: "This (Bill) would undermine efforts to protect sensitive populations from exposure to lead, a known toxin to children and developing fetuses, during home renovation projects. The currently available test kits allow renovators to comply with the 2008 rule."

This position is the result of intense lobbying efforts from the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition. Its coalition of over 100 members seem to have more clout than the NAHB, NARI, WDDA, among other remodeling and renovation industry advocates who have tried to lobby for moderation in Lead Safe requirements.

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), “Test kits are merely an option for contractors who do not want to follow the rule; their use is not a requirement for renovators to be able to do their jobs. EPA has already approved several test kits and has no control over whether another one is developed. There are other options for testing before the job begins.” Test kits were an RRP concession by EPA to help mitigate costs, since the other alternatives were more costly.

The NCHH added, “The EPA regulation was amended last week to allow renovators to collect paint chips and send them to labs to determine the amount of lead if any, now offering a third option for proving there’s no lead in the paint to allow renovators to get out of the requirements.” The other two options are (1) having a risk assessor or inspector use an X-ray fluorescence machine to test the paint and (2) using one of the already EPA-approved disposable test kits to check the paint.”