Commercial painters, remodelers and interested parties have three months to voice opinions on expanding the controversial federal lead renovation rule into the commercial and public building sectors.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiated a public comment period Jan. 2 to collect feedback about its proposed expansion of the Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.
The comment period ends April 1.
Architect of the Capitol
Federal regulators are seeking more data regarding public and commercial projects that disturb lead-based paint. A restoration project on the U.S. Capitol Dome involved removing lead paint.
RRP, which already applies to work performed in pre-1978 homes and day-care centers, would require contractors to be certified and follow “lead-safe” work practices when renovating commercial and public buildings.
For more information or to submit comments on the proposed rule, click here. The EPA plans to discuss the rule during a public meeting June 26. Details about the meeting will be published in the Federal Register in the spring EPA said.
Delay of RRP Game
The RRP Rule, which went into effect in April 2010, mandates lead-safe certification and work practices for contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six feet of lead-based paint in most pre-1978 homes, child-care facilities and schools.
After the rule was finalized, EPA began the process to introduce two additional rules that would have expanded the program to include interior and exterior work on commercial buildings.
In fact, EPA’s RRP proposal for exterior renovations for public and commercial buildings was originally set to be issued by Sept. 14, 2012, and finalized February 2014.
However, in September, the EPA announced that it would delay action on the proposed rule until July 2015 as part of a settlement agreement. The announcement was met with hearty cheers from remodeling-industry organizations and politicians.
The delay will give EPA “enough time to collect more data and ensure that it has a clear understanding of how commercial and public buildings are renovated and repaired, or where potential lead hazards may occur,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
In settling with some of the parties who petitioned for review of the residential RRP rule, the EPA agreed to commence rulemaking to address renovations in public and commercial buildings, to the extent that those renovations create lead-based paint hazards.
"For those activities that do create lead-based paint hazards, EPA intends to develop certification, training, and work practice requirements as directed by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)," the federal agency said.
The revised settlement also combined interior and exterior RRP activities and delayed the timeline for implementation.
Auditor Criticizes Analysis
A July 2012 report by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General noted several shortcomings of the agency in its economic analysis prior to implementing the original rule.
The Inspector General recommended that the agency reexamine the costs and benefits to determine whether the rule should be modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed.
The agency said it would initiate more data collection efforts—like the public comment period announced last Wednesday—and seek input from a small business advocacy review panel in its process to expand the rule.