Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay the April 22 implementation date of a new rule intended to reduce the creation of lead dust when renovation occurs in homes built before 1978.

"I support this rule because I believe it will provide necessary protections for children and people that are most vulnerable to lead poisoning," Klobuchar wrote in a March 17 letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. "However, I encourage you to reconsider the timeline for implementing the [rule] until the EPA is confident that the resources are in place to enforce the rule without creating undue waiting times for home renovators."

Klobuchar's letter came shortly after LBM executives visited her in Washington concerning the EPA's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule. that requires contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. (See EPA fact sheet.) Ignoring the new rules can lead to fines of tens of thousands of dollars per day.

"Under the LRRP, any renovation work that disturbs six square feet of the interior of a home built before 1978 must follow new lead-safe work practices conducted by an EPA-certified renovator," Klobuchar wrote. "The EPA estimates that this rule will require 200,000 certified renovators. I understand that the EPA has less than 200 accredited trainers and less than 15,000 certified renovators. Implementing this rule without a sufficient number of accredited renovators could create substantial delays for homeowners and reduce our national efforts to create jobs by increasing home energy efficiency upgrades."

Advocates of a delay have argued that LRRP would cripple the Obama administration's proposed Homestar program, which seeks to create jobs by offering tax incentives for renovations that increase the energy efficiency of homes. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers (NLBMDA) joined nearly a dozen other groups recently in requesting a delay (story), and it made the delay one of its key talking points during its members' visits to Capitol Hill last week.