Senate Republicans introduce bill to restore lead paint opt-out

Bill would amend Toxic Substance Control Act for renovations in pre-1978 homes

March 02, 2012

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe introduced a bill yesterday that would take some of the burden off of remodelers and other contractors working in pre-1978 homes.

Most importantly, the bill would restore the "opt-out" provision. Originally included in the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, the opt-out provision would have allowed remodelers working in a home built before 1978 to forego the lead-safe work practices if no children under 6 or pregnant women resided there and the homeowner chose to “opt out” of having the remodeler follow them. The provision was removed from the rule by the EPA after a lawsuit by the Sierra Club.

In a recent Professional Remodeler survey, 77 percent of remodelers said restoring the opt-out provision would help their business. That's due largely to homeowners choosing to hire contractors that aren't following the regulations and costing certified remodelers the work.

NAHB has been engaged in a court battle with the EPA over the opt-out provision as well, and made oral arguments in front of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in November. The Court has thus far not issued a ruling.

"We applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for sponsoring this bill to make much-needed improvements to EPA's lead paint rule during this busy time in Congress," said 2012 NAHB Remodelers Chairman George "Geep" Moore Jr., GMB, CAPS, GMR, a remodeler from Elm Grove, La. "If this effort is successful, it will reduce the regulatory burden for remodelers facing costly penalties for first-time violations like misfiled paperwork and allow home owners to make the final decision about renovations in their homes."

The bill, S. 2148, is co-sponsored by five other senators: Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and has been referred to the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works.

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