Alexander: EPA’s Lead Paint Decision “Will Help Thousands of Tennesseans Get Back on Their Feet” After Flood

Delay of Enforcement Follows Alexander Letter and Senate Passage of Collins-Alexander Amendment

Posted on June 18, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to extend deadlines for compliance with the lead-paint rule will “help Tennesseans get back on their feet.” The EPA decision follows a letter Senator Alexander sent to the EPA requesting that it reconsider the implementation of the rule, as well as Senate passage of an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill, offered by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and cosponsored by Alexander, prohibiting the use of EPA funds in the bill to enforce the EPA lead-paint rule.
“Tens of thousands of Tennesseans are rebuilding their homes after the worst natural disaster since President Obama took office, so I’m glad the EPA has listened and provided more time and resources for contractors to comply with the lead-paint rule to protect children from lead paint,” Alexander said.  “In Nashville alone, there are 13,000 painters, plumbers and carpenters who have over 11,000 structures to fix that may be affected by the lead-paint rule, and today’s EPA decision means they can go to work without worrying about the threat of a $37,500-per-day fine as they help Tennesseans get back on their feet after last month’s historic flooding.”
Alexander, the senior Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over EPA, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on May 25th asking her to delay implementation of the rule, saying it could “affect repair work on up to 750,000 Tennessee buildings, make repairs more expensive and impose on painters and other contractors fines of up to $37,500 a day.”
 The EPA lead-paint rule requires not only that the contractor or firm be certified in lead safe work practices, but that the employees who perform the work be certified as well, adding to the shortage of available contractors. Additionally, the EPA can fine uncertified contractors who violate the lead-paint rule up to $37,500 per violation, per day, the threat of which will create significant delays in the repair process for thousands of Tennesseans who are limited to a small number of lead-paint-certified contractors.
According to EPA’s decision today, the agency will:

  • Not enforce the rule’s firm certification requirement until October 1, 2010.
  • Not enforce the rule until December 31, 2010, against “individual renovation workers if the person has been applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, by not later than September 30, 2010, a certified renovator class to train contractors in practices necessary for the final rules.”
    • Renovators must complete training by December 31, 2010.
  • Encourage “additional training opportunities in every state in order to meet demand for classes.”

A copy of EPA's letter can be found below.

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