According to the Senator
Posted: Thursday, June 3, 2010 12:05 pm
By: Sen. Lamar Alexander, Special to The Press
Washington – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week to delay implementing a new “lead paint rule” that he said 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.”
Alexander also will join Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill that would allow any contractor who enrolls in a lead-paint certification class by Sept. 30, 2010, to be considered in compliance with the EPA lead paint rule.
He said that the EPA has only three trainers assigned full-time to Tennessee to offer such classes, “even though there are 50,000 contractors—13,000 in Nashville alone—who may need to be certified before they can work on most homes built before 1978.”
In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Alexander said implementing the “lead-paint” rule could affect more than 750,000 buildings in Tennessee and 168,000 housing units in Davidson County alone.
The rule requires that all contractors that disturb six square feet of lead paint surface in homes, child-care facilities, and schools built before 1978 be certified by the EPA and follow lead-safe work practices.
“Ten days before the Tennessee flood, the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since President Obama took office, a new EPA rule went into effect that will make it harder and more expensive for Tennesseans to repair their flood-damaged homes and get back on their feet,” Alexander said.
“For example, Nashville alone has $2 billion in flood damage and 11,000 buildings in need of major repair.”
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, Alexander said.
In his letter to Administrator Jackson, Alexander made the following requests:
• First, delay the lead-paint rule’s implementation for 120 days (until September 30, 2010), while the EPA creates a reasonable plan for its implementation in flood-damaged Tennessee, and that it establish a process by which any contractor that enrolls in a lead-paint certification class be considered in compliance with the lead-paint rule;
• Second, reinstate the homeowner “opt-out” provision that would allow homeowners to hire uncertified contractors to repair their homes, as long as they verify that there are no children under six or pregnant women in the home.
Comply with current lead paint disclosure rules when the homeowner sells the home.