I am sure you have heard this popular legal mantra, that “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Really, so what might happen if a regulatory agency does not inform the public that such a regulation exists? Well, according to one agency’s own internal documents; “If the regulation is not accompanied by education efforts and enforcement, then we could unintentionally drive up demand for non-compliant renovation projects.”
Did you know that Executive Order 12866 calls for three findings to justify the need for a federal regulation? First, there must be a description of the market failure or social purpose that can be met via the regulation. Secondly, there should be an explanation of why the regulation should be carried out at the federal level. Finally, there should be a discussion of why the current regulatory initiatives are not sufficient to correct the market failure.
So when the first criteria is met due to “Incomplete/Incorrect Information…” and it will be corrected by: “by providing information to the consumer and contractor about the risk associated…“ you would expect that said agency would make sure that informing the public would be one of its primary focus. Well, here we are counting down to one of the biggest regulations to hit the pre-1978 housing market and still hardly anyone knows anything about it. The most optimistic survey I have seen shows that maybe 20% of all the affected contractors even have a clue about it. Homeowners, realtors and other affected parties – maybe 1% do. How about those that know about the regulation, or are supposed to train people on it? Well I can honestly tell you that pure confusion reigns due to bad information, personal agendas, etc…
The agency in charge of this fiasco – The EPA
The new regulation – Title 40 Part 745 — LEAD-BASED PAINT POISONING PREVENTION IN CERTAIN RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES
I have covered many of the basics in these articles on the EPA RRP Rule. Two of the biggest items are that one individual must be trained as a Certified Lead Renovator and that any firms wishing to work on pre 1978 homes has to become a Certified Firm. The Certified Firm is a major issue, because if you are not certified come April 22nd, you cannot work in or sign a contract on a pre-78 house (even if the project was under way). One item mentioned on the EPA’s site repeatedly is that it could take up to 90 days to get your firm certified.
I remember reading on the EPA’s site, and hearing it from a few instructors that no other state besides Wisconsin was close to becoming certified by them. So everyone except for firms located in Wisconsin needed to register as a certified firm. Based on that information and a quick check back then of all applicable Alabama government websites, (which showed no action or knowledge of it) we sent in our Firm Certification back in during December. About 3 weeks ago, we are reading about North Carolina & Iowa all of a sudden being certified, with no mention of any other states being close. Imagine my surprise this morning when I come across this site: http://www.healthyhomestraining.org/RRP/State.htm where it has our state listed as Pending with a ruling expected by the end of this month.
So what happens in this state if Alabama all of a sudden takes over the program? Will the prior required training certificate work? What about the firm certification form and money already sent “in good faith”? How about all the other states that are listed or are working on this program? Are there any other states that we do not know about? How about providing those of us trying to comply with your regulations, some legitimate information?
While we are at it, how about you release the true costs for the homeowners and contractors that abide with this? The first cost estimates you released stated it would only add about $35 to the cost of a job. Then all of a sudden when most of us scoffed at this price, you come up with a range from $8 to $167 a job. What is hilarious is apparently you forgot about the Freedom of Information Act & that we can go back and look at your original documents like this one http://www.epa.gov/oppt/economics/pubs/lrrpnprmea.pdf. Based off your fuzzy math using 2005 numbers – it was figured that the containment costs per job would run anywhere from $22.67 to $527.89 per job using “flexible work practices” not the harder prescriptive methods you have imposed. I can guarantee you that the $22 number is still too low based on just the paperwork and homeowner education aspect.
Can you explain to everyone why your only approved test kit is “not recognized” for testing drywall or plaster? You do realize that this is a NIST certified product that exceeds your requirements? How do you even start to justify this?
Why did you change your original proposal that originally called for a two-phase roll out? Why was the rollout pushed so fast? Your original requirements showed that it would take a year using 168 training companies to provide the needed training for half the appropriate individuals (2-phase rollout). So why is it that once training was allowed to start, you have only allowed 6 months for training, and have only certified 133 firms to date? So how about it everyone, care to take a step back, answer the questions, and get this program rolled out in a more sensible manner? How about giving the states that wish to take over this program, the time required to do so?
Maybe we need an Executive Order that states that those that come up with said rules, regulations and laws must adequately inform and educate the public about them along with any changes made after the fact.
Sean Lintow Sr. – Owner