Volume 13, Issue 5 - June 2012

What’s Legal

Legislation Introduced to Change LRRP Rule
Legislation to amend the Lead Renovate, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule has been introduced by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The bill, S.2148, would make some changes to the rule. Among its key provisions, S. 2148 would restore the “opt-out” clause, suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve a commercially available test kits that meet the regulation’s requirements and provide a de minimus exemption for first-time paperwork violations.

A number of organizations have applauded the legislation’s introduction, saying it would reform the LRRP Rule, reducing the burden it has placed on the home retrofit market while protecting pregnant women and small children from lead hazards.

“Since the EPA Lead Rule took effect in April 2010, EPA has expanded the rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children while mismanaging the implementation of the rule and failing to meet its own requirements to produce an accurate test kit,” says Michael O’Brien, president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). “This legislation is a common-sense response which will refocus efforts on protecting pregnant woman and small children and we applaud Sen. Inhofe for his leadership on this issue.”

According to the statement from WDMA, despite EPA stating a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives would be on the market when the rule took effect in 2010, no test kit on the market meets this standard. The lack of EPA compliant test kits has added millions in compliance costs with consumers paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

“The window and door retrofit market has been key to sustaining the industry and preserving jobs during the prolonged housing downturn. EPA’s efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original scope, inaccurate test kits, and enforcement actions targeted mainly at certified renovators has only hindered industry recovery efforts,” added O’Brien.

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) also issued a statement noting that it supports revisions to current LRRP requirements and will be providing information to members of EPA to address questions regarding the EPA’s decision to eliminate the “opt-out” provision.

“Inherent flaws and overreach in the LRRP regulations are killing jobs and severely limiting the replacement of energy-inefficient windows,” says Rich Walker, AAMA’s president and CEO. “The rule unfairly penalizes homeowners, contractors and business owners involved in renovation and repair.”

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) also praised the proposed legislation.

“The remodeling and retrofit market has been the main source of business for many dealers during the prolonged housing recession, either through installed sales operations, serving remodeler customers, or both,” says NLBMDA chair Cally Fromme, executive vice president of Zarsky Lumber Company in Victoria, Texas. “EPA’s efforts to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original goal of protecting pregnant women and small children, its mismanaged implementation, and its failure to approve an accurate lead test kit meeting its own rule have been an extreme burden on the one segment of the residential market that has been sustaining many businesses.

Former Window Company Owners Indicted by Feds for Failing to Pay Taxes
Michael M. Russell and Laurie L. Russell, previous owners, officers and operators of North Country Windows Inc. in Lancaster County, Neb., have been charged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska in a federal indictment of four counts of failing to pay federal income taxes and income tax withholdings of their employees.

According to court documents the defendants deducted and collected approximately $79,822.21 from the total taxable wages of North Country employees, federal income taxes and Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes. The documents say that in early May 2006 in the District of Nebraska, the defendants stopped paying federal and FICA taxes due and owed more than $314,486 for taxes collected in 2006 but not paid to the government.


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