Logo for EPA's new "Look for the Logo" campaign

Paint companies withdrew an initiative from a November ballot in California yesterday that would have created a $2 billion taxpayer-funded state bond and limited their liability for lead paint cleanup in the state.

Legislators say the decision resulted from talks to avoid an expensive initiative battle and "ensure a thoughtful process to address the significant problems arising from the existence of lead paint in older homes across the state.”

10 California cities had recently filed an emergency lawsuit to stop the initiative.

Two firms, Sherwin Williams and Conagra Grocery Products, were initially ordered to pay between $409 million and $730 million to remove lead pain in houses built before 1951.

The industry-backed ballot measure would have declared that lead paint is not a public nuisance, wiping out the liability from the existing lawsuit and any others filed by other cities or counties under the same legal theory. The $2 billion bond for lead abatement would be repaid from the state general fund for an average of $110 million a year for 35 years.

Lawmakers, the paint companies, and other interested parties agreed to work together toward a resolution before the end of the legislative session in September, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Toni Atkins, both Democrats, said in a statement.

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