By Ben Gann, NLBMDA Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published its review of the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule as required under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The report was required to address whether provisions should be modified or rescinded to minimize adverse economic effects on small businesses. In its findings, EPA concluded that the rule should remain unchanged without any actions to amend or rescind it.
NLBMDA, along with other remodeling industry stakeholders, have met regularly with EPA officials regarding the ongoing challenges with RRP rule compliance. Although the agency’s findings are disappointing, they are not surprising. EPA defended the rule despite acknowledging in the report that the lead paint test kits approved by the Agency for compliance do not meet the rule’s false positive standard.
The conclusion in the report states that the RRP rule’s goal of protecting pregnant women and children under six from lead exposure outweighs certain compliance issues. EPA used five statutory factors in evaluating changes to the rule. In addition, the agency responded to 35 comments it received during the review of the rule and its evaluation of test kits that took place in 2015 and 2016.
EPA states that it will continue working with “small-entity representatives” such as NLBMDA to minimize any potential unfavorable impacts while continuing to discharge the Agency’s statutory mandate of eliminating lead-based paint hazards in housing and child-occupied facilities as expeditiously as possible.
Release of the report comes as the RRP rule is under scrutiny. The U.S. Court of Appeals has given EPA until June 29 to propose an update to its standard for lead dust hazards and the regulatory definition of lead-based paint, which could affect the RRP rule. In addition, last month, EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced that it is beginning preliminary research to evaluate implementation and enforcement of the RRP rule. EPA’s OIG conducted a similar review in 2012 and found that the agency used limited data to develop the rule’s cost and benefits estimates.