Don’t be fooled by the headlines. The EPA is not really reviewing or curbing RRP.

On May 24, 2011, The EPA issued a preliminary regulatory reform plan outlining its intent for periodic retrospective reviews of existing regulations.  The plan has gotten a lot of the media excited and motivated to write about how EPA may be looking to take a "specific step toward modifying, streamlining, expanding, or repealing a regulation or related program" (i.e. RRP).  Hardly. When it comes to RRP, does anyone think it will be repealed? It can't. RRP is the result of an act of Congress, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1998 (TSCA) and it will take another act of Congress to repeal it.  To repeal TSCA it would mean repealing OSHA, HUD and a host of other toxic control legislation at the same time. In addition, the significant changes to RRP have not come from the industry’s efforts to modify or repeal, but have come from lawsuits from special environmental interests worked out in court. (i.e. the expected clearance testing revisions due out in July). Will EPA modify RRP? You bet.  They will add exterior containment and clearance testing. Will they streamline RRP? They already have when they eliminated the opt-out provision, and are considering some additional revisions regarding paperwork. Will they expand RRP? That’s the intent of making it apply to commercial exteriors (ruling due in December). So yes, they will modify, streamline, expand – just not repeal. On the surface then, their stated intent in the "Preliminary Regulatory Reform Plan" is correct. It’s the interpretation that’s causing confusion. Most of us will fail to read the reform plan, and wait for all of this to go away. After all, we have been promised repeal, or softening, and that the government would eventually come to their senses. We thought maybe senators and congressional representatives would rescue contractors with a bill or other legislative magic letting us off the hook. It is not wild speculation that the lack of compliance in the field and the resistance to RRP comes from misleading and misinterpreted media coverage. Media aside, read the preliminary study. For those engaged in RRP, you will find only three relevant, though interesting, references: 1.    There’s only one mention of RRP 2.    It confirms “Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program: considering new post-work requirements designed to ensure cleaning meets clearance standards” 3.    The EPA will make quick changes to some TSCA reporting requirements aimed at reducing the burden.  The changes to the reporting requirements of the TSCA are to allow on-line filing of documents, but only for pesticides, so no help there for RRP. Bottom line: When you see a headline “EPA Considering Reforms in RRP Rules” with the lead paragraph implying a simpler, smarter regulatory system; such as appeared in the June 1 edition of Window & Door Magazine e-zine, or a blog on the Window & Door Dealers Alliance website ( implying that the “…meter is moving our way…” is not borne out in reading the actual reform plan or reviewing the history of Lead