WASHINGTON, DC - The EPA and the Department of Justice announced that Lowe’s Home Centers, one of the nation’s largest home improvement retailers, agreed to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide compliance program at its over 1,700 stores nationwide to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by the federal Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule. The company will also pay a $500,000 civil penalty, which is the largest ever for violations of the RRP Rule. 

On February 18, 2014, EPA announced additional enforcement actions that will require 35 home renovation contractors and training providers to take additional steps to protect communities by minimizing harmful lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by RRP Standards. These standards provide protection for children and others vulnerable to exposure to lead dust that can cause lead poisoning. The enforcement actions, which all require contractors to certify compliance with the RRP standards, led to more than $274,000 in civil penalties.

In other agency news, the EPA is inviting small businesses to participate as consultants for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel as the agency considers steps to reduce lead-based paint exposure from the renovation, repair, and painting of public and commercial buildings as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The SBAR Panel is being established pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act and will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, and EPA. The panel will ask a selected group of Small Entity Representatives (SERs) to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community or organization to inform the panel on impacts of a proposed rule on small entities involved in the renovation, repair and painting of public and commercial buildings. SER panelists may participate via telephone, webinar or in person.

EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small businesses, small governments and small organizations that may be subject to the rule requirements to facilitate the selection of SERs. An entity is eligible to be a SER if it will be directly subject to the particular proposed regulation under development and meets one of the SBA’s definitions http://www.sba.gov/content/table-small-business-size-standards to qualify as a small entity.

EPA encourages the actual owners or operators of small businesses, community officials and representatives of non-profit organizations to participate in this process. However, a person from a trade association that exclusively or primarily represents potentially regulated small entities may also serve as a SER.

Self-nominations must be received by May 9, 2014. To nominate yourself, visit “How can I get Involved” at http://www.epa.gov/rfa/lead-pncb.html.