Senate Passes Amendment to Allow Small Contractors Time to Comply with EPA Lead Paint Rule

June 4th, 2010 by Editor

The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill designed to provide contractors with additional time to comply with the recently enacted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead paint rule. The bill, authored by Sen. Susan Collins (R -Maine) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R – Maine), would prohibit the EPA from levying fines against contractors who have signed up for training classes by September 30, 2010.

The rule, called “Lead: Renovation, Repair and Paint Rule,” went into effect April 22, 2010. It requires that contractors who perform work in homes built before 1978 be EPA-certified or face fines up to $37,500 per violation per day.

“Unfortunately, as a result of EPA’s lack of planning, there still are not enough certified trainers in most states to educate contractors about these new requirements,” reads a statement from Sen. Collins’ office. “Three states, Louisiana, Wyoming and South Dakota, do not have a single EPA-certified trainer. In Maine, there are just three EPA-certified trainers. Hundreds of Maine contractors have signed up for training, but are being forced to wait.”

Collins says a delay in the levying of fines would allow adequate time for contractors to comply with the new regulation.

“There is no question that we must continue our efforts to rid lead-based paint from our homes. Maine children are at particularly high risk for lead poisoning because more than 60 percent of our state’s homes were built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978,” says Sen. Collins. “But the EPA must step up to the plate and work quickly to boost the number of certified trainers in each state. The burden should not fall upon the shoulders of small contractors and construction professionals who are trying their best to comply with EPA’s rule. The fines that EPA will levy would be devastating to small businesses that have been unable to comply due to EPA’s failure to adequately plan for the implementation of this rule.”

“Without question we want to make sure that we reduce lead poisoning incidents in the United States and enhance the remodeling industry that improves the efficiency of homes and the quality of life for families in Maine and throughout the nation,” adds Sen. Snowe. “However, I am concerned about the manner in which EPA has failed to provide information and public notice about this major lead abatement rule causing confusion for homeowners and uncertainty for businesses … Unfortunately, given that so many businesses simply cannot receive training by the deadline to comply with the rule, it is imperative that we take the time to educate and inform communities on the process for compliance with the rule to ensure a seamless transition.”

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  1. Does this mean the op out clause will still go into effect on July 5th?

  2. Opt out will CEASE to be legal to use as of July 5th. My guess is that new renovators will just work without knowing it was ever there. If you have any questions, Ill see what I can do to help: 215-244-1300

  3. How can this be a level playing field?

    We are a company that is certified , fully trained and using all equipment to practice lead safety.

    If our competitors do not have to get their training scheduled until sept 30 they have a “out” that we dont have. In other words they will work w/o lead safe practices until after September 30th. The way I read it they will not be fined. So they have more than the “opt out” they have a free run to work w/o guidelines until Sept 30th.

    Why would the “opt out” not be delayed as well? The companies that have not been trained will bid work w/o the extra labor and cost and the companies that comply will lose jobs due to cost.

    I am in sales. I would say 70% of our competition does not even mention lead safe practices. I look like a criminal even mentionning it because homeowners do not want to pay extra and feel it is a way to “over Charge”

    I even have had customers that are excited becuase they know the fines wont be levied against them, but the companies doing the work! I have lost countless jobs already due to this fact.

    The EPA needs to make the homeowners liable as well. Until they do that they will use non-certified people who will help them “save a Buck” I know the EPA will never do that because of the “backlash” from consumers so they are laying it all on us.

  4. If I read the June 18, 2010 EPA memo on this extension correctly, contractors will have additional time to become certified. But it sounds as if they STILL expect the abatement procedures to be in place as of April 22, 2010. Can that be correct?

    2nd question: If my project starts prior to October 1 – but it continues for 5-6 months, am I expected to comply after October 1? Or does the date of the building permit (ie, prior to October 1 or after October 1) determine whether my project must comply? THANKS!

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