Legislation Seeks to Restore “Opt Out”

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 (S. 2148), which was introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), seeks to restore the opt-out provision that was removed from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule in April 2010. The legislation has been directed to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, on which Inhofe presides as Ranking Minority Member. The bill’s cosponsors include Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and David Vitter (R-La.).

Specifically, S. 2148 would restore the opt-out provision, suspend the RRP if the EPA cannot approve commercially available test kits that meet the regulation’s requirements, and restrict the EPA from expanding RRP activities to commercial and public buildings until a study is conducted to prove necessity. S. 2148 would provide an exemption from penalty for contractors who submit documentation for the first time or with typographical errors and allows for a process to resubmit corrected documentation. The legislation also provides exceptions for renovations after a natural disaster and eliminates requirements for hands-on recertification training. “I have always supported the intent of RRP, which is to protect children and pregnant women from lead exposure, but EPA’s implementation of the rule has long been botched and in need of a legislative fix,” Inhofe said recently. “Today, we have a bill that will make sure those who are most vulnerable to lead exposure receive the full health protections of this rule.”

Several industry organizations support the act, including the Schaumburg, Ill.-based American Architectural Manufacturers Association; Washington-based National Association of Home Builders; and Des Plaines, Ill.-based National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

NAHB is asking its members to urge their senators to cosponsor S. 2148 through its Capitol Connect legislative action tool, which is available at Capitolconnect.com/BuilderLink.

NARI reports its members overwhelmingly agreed (92 percent) by survey that restoring the opt out makes sense. One survey respondent said: “I truly believe that as professional remodelers, we must be cognizant of our customers’ health and safety. However, once they are educated concerning lead hazards, ultimately, they should be able to make their own decisions regarding this issue.”

Learn how QR’s readers are responding to the legislation in “Hot Spot,” page 50.