“Far From Ready” is How PHCC Sums Up EPA’s Proposed Lead Paint Rule for Public & Commercial Buildings
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Lead Paint Rule for public and commercial (P&C) buildings is “far from ready for use in rulemaking,” PHCC and other members of Commercial Properties Coalition said in comments to the EPA June 30. “The Framework (proposed rule) would benefit from fuller development of its methodology and inputs, independent peer review, and EPA’s consideration of technical reviewers’ comments before soliciting public comment or proceeding to rely on this approach,” the letter stated.
PHCC has long argued that any expansion of the current lead paint rule (now in effect for only renovation work done in residential buildings built before 1978) must be based on scientific research and data. EPA’s framework document uses computer-based modeling to determine hazards, not research and data, such as information professional renovation contractors could provide about their real-life experiences on the job.
The Framework document also establishes an accelerated, consolidated process that the coalition believes skips a few required steps. For example, the EPA proposes combining the hazard identification and regulation process into one proceeding, which the coalition describes as “misguided.” (In comparison, the residential lead paint rule was established seven years after the EPA conducted a rulemaking to develop a hazard identification standard.) The coalition letter states that the EPA does not have the authority to create shortcuts or avoid rulemakings, studies and a chronology that Congress has established.
The industry group’s response agrees with EPA’s conclusion that “One Size Fits All” approach is not appropriate for P&C buildings because they “vary greatly” in terms of their sizes, shapes, configurations, uses occupancies and cleaning frequencies. These differences create an increased need to first identify which specific settings create a hazard and actually fall within EPA’s regulatory authority rather than combining the identification and regulation processes.
The coalition also states that the Framework’s technical aspects are novel, not fully developed, and open to question. The group advised that EPA should proceed by identifying whether specific P&C lead paint hazard exist, subjecting its Framework methodology to peer review and satisfying other prerequisites. The group concluded that EPA should not move to develop proposed regulations to address any identified hazards until the recommended essential steps have been completed.
PHCC continues to fight on behalf of members and will keep members informed as this unfolds. EPA intends to release a final rule in 2015, with compliance in 2016. For more information about the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Paining Program, click here.