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New assault on EPA’s lead rule

BY HBSDealer Staff

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association applauded the reintroduction of legislation in the Senate reforming the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act (S. 1987) was introduced last week by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and would reduce the burdens of the rule on the home remodeling and retrofit market, while maintaining protections for pregnant women and young children from lead hazards.

"EPA's effort to expand the Lead Rule beyond its original intent and failure to approve a lead test kit meeting its own rule has been a major disappointment," said NLBMDA chairman J.D. Saunders, VP of Economy Lumber in Campbell, California. "Safety is a priority for NLBMDA, and we support protecting pregnant women and young children from lead exposure but action is needed to reduce the regulatory burden of the rule."

NLBMDA continues working with lawmakers in the House and Senate to scrutinize EPA's implementation and enforcement of the rule.

The NLBMDA — which along with HBSDealer will host the ProDealer Industry Summit Oct. 28-30 in Colorado Springs, Colorado — pointed to some background on the issue:

• In July 2010, the EPA removed the "opt-out provision" from the RRP rule that granted homeowners the right to forego the use of rigorous work practices if a pregnant woman or child under age six did not live in the home. Removing the opt-out provision increased the number of homes subject to the rule from 38 million to 79 million, and EPA estimates that it adds more than $336 million annually in compliance costs to the regulated community, including homeowners.

• EPA has also failed to approve a commercially available test kit producing no more than 10 percent false positives in violation of its own rules. The lack of EPA-compliant test kits has even resulted in homeowners paying for unnecessary work because of false positive test results.

• Among its key provisions, the legislation would restore the "opt-out" clause, suspend the rule for owner-occupied housing built between 1960 and 1977 when a young child or pregnant woman does not live in the home (if EPA cannot approve a test kit meeting its own standard for false positives), prohibit expansion of the rule to commercial buildings until EPA conducts a study demonstrating the need for such action, and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time paperwork violations. 

In addition to Sen. Inhofe, the original cosponsors of the bill are Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-South Dakota). Earlier this year, identical legislation (H.R. 2328) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).

NLBMDA has made passage of S. 1987 and H.R. 2328 a top legislative priority. For more information, go to NLBMDA's Legislative Action Center.

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Leviton speeds ahead on electric car

BY HBSDealer Staff

Melville, New York-based Leviton unveiled the Evr-Green 320 Level 2 Charging Station, the latest addition to its Evr-Green line of residential, commercial and public electric vehicle charging systems.

“To better meet our customers’ needs, we designed the Evr-Green 320 to meet the rigors of home and workplace,” said Manoj Karwa, senior director for Leviton’s Commercial & Industrial Business Unit. “The improved design is constructed of durable powder-coated galvanized steel to withstand harsh environmental conditions, and the charging station can easily be installed on a wall or freestanding with our single or dual pedestal system.”

The updated device provides up to 32 amps at 208 or 240 volts AC (7.7 kW maximum output) and is designed with an improved installation process to better meet customers’ needs and to reduce the charge time of next generation SAE J1772 plug-in electric vehicles.  

The station features a unique charge connector assembly that is rated up to 40 amps and a durable, weatherproof NEMA Type 4 steel enclosure. The device is available in a hard-wired installation, and can be cord-connected and mounted to the Leviton installation kit if required. The charging station is also available with either an 18-ft. or 25-ft. charging cable to provide more flexibility for mounting locations for customers.

The device will be available through Leviton's distribution channels: e-store, electrical distributors, retail partners and automakers starting in May 2016.

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As drought lingers, a call for rebates

BY HBSDealer Staff

Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based Plumbing Manufacturers International says it continues to work with the state of California to mitigate the impact of its drought. But the industry association says the state can do more.

Specifically, California can implement stronger incentives to replace older plumbing products currently in use with water-efficient products.

The association pointed to a study conducted by GMP Research and commissioned by PMI that shows consumers and businesses in drought-stricken states have been slow to purchase and install WaterSense toilets, showerheads and bathroom faucets, despite the urgent need to save water.

The GMP Research/PMI study found that only 5.5% of California’s 33.5 million installed residential and commercial toilets are high-efficiency toilets using 1.28 gallons per flush — the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense standard for toilets evaluated to be 20% more water-efficient than other plumbing products meeting federal standards.

Despite the drought conditions in California, only 21.1% of bathroom faucets there meet the WaterSense standard of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) and 23.9% of showerheads meet the WaterSense standard of 2.0 gpm.

While recognizing that lower product flow rates will help save water, PMI urges Governor Jerry Brown to continue the development and implementation of a statewide rebate program providing monetary incentives for the purchase of water-efficient toilets, showerheads, bathroom faucets and other plumbing products.

“No matter how efficient a plumbing product is, it cannot save water sitting on an inventory shelf,” PMI said in a statement.

The state has shown a recent burst of creativity in attacking the water shortage problem. This week it released millions of floating plastic balls into the Los Angeles River in order to fight the growth of carcinogens, provide shade for the water and maximize its resources.

What’s also needed, says the PMI, is a little incentive for consumers to get involved.

"With droughts beginning to affect more regions of the U.S., now is the time to create stronger rebates and incentives for consumers and businesses to purchase and install water-efficient plumbing products,” said Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO and executive director. “There have been tremendous advancements in the technology and efficacy of plumbing products. Just as you wouldn’t use a 20-year-old cell phone, it doesn’t make sense to use 20-year-old plumbing technology. Start saving more water today.”

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