The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers commended Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) for introducing the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 (S. 2148). According to NAHB, the amendments would improve the lead paint rule for home owners and remodelers who must comply with the costly work practices and record-keeping requirements of the rule. The bill was introduced with five original co-sponsors: Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

The bill would reinstate the opt-out provision to allow home owners without small children or pregnant women residing in the home to decide whether to require LRRP compliance, allow remodelers to correct paperwork errors without facing full penalties and provide an exemption for emergency renovations. It would also eliminate the requirement that recertification training be "hands on," preventing remodelers having to travel to training facilities out of their region.

"We applaud Sen. Inhofe and his colleagues for sponsoring this bill to make much-needed improvements to EPA's lead paint rule during this busy time in Congress," said 2012 NAHB Remodelers Chairman George Moore Jr., GMB, CAPS, GMR, a remodeler from Elm Grove, La. "If this effort is successful, it will reduce the regulatory burden for remodelers facing costly penalties for first-time violations like misfiled paperwork and allow home owners to make the final decision about renovations in their homes."

The Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule applies to homes built before 1978 and requires renovator training and certification, adherence to lead-safe work practices, containing and cleaning dust and record keeping.

By removing the opt-out provision in July 2010, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP rule, adding an estimated $336 million per year in compliance costs to the remodeling community, according to NAHB.

"We need to concentrate our efforts on helping the families that this law was designed to protect," said Moore. "We support the intent of the lead paint rule to prevent childhood lead poisoning and believe that the provisions in this bill will encourage greater compliance by home owners. Common sense exemptions for emergency renovations and online recertification training are necessary improvements for remodelers and home owners to fully comply with the rule."

The introduction of companion legislation is being sought in the House of Representatives, NAHB noted.