The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Sept. 13 delayed for nearly three years a proposal to expand its Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) to include commercial buildings.

Under an earlier RRP rule, which went into effect in April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six feet of lead-based paint in most pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead poisoning. After the rule was finalized, EPA began taking steps to introduce two additional rules that would have expanded this program to include interior and exterior work on commercial buildings. 

In response, ABC and a coalition of industry stakeholders expressed concern that EPA was planning to take an inflexible approach to the rulemaking, which could impose unnecessary costs and threaten businesses and the jobs they create. The coalition also pointed out that it was unclear whether EPA planned to obtain sector-specific data to ensure sound analysis prior to issuing a proposed rule, even though it is required to do so by the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Under a settlement agreement issued in September, EPA will merge its two rules regarding interior and exterior RRP activities on commercial buildings and will not issue another proposal until July 2015, with a final rule anticipated in January 2017.