In an effort to assist small contractors who are struggling to comply with new Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead paint abatement regulations, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment, authored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill. Collins’ amendment would prohibit the EPA from using funds in this bill to levy fines against contractors under its new lead paint abatement rule through Sept. 30, 2010.

The Lead: Renovation, Repair and Paint Rule went into effect April 22, 2010. It requires contractors who perform work in homes built before 1978 to be EPA-certified or face fines up to $37,500 per violation per day. Unfortunately, in most states, there still are not enough certified trainers to educate contractors about these new requirements. For example, there is just one trainer in Oklahoma and three in Maine. In Tennessee, where there also are just three trainers, the rule could slow down rebuilding and recovery from that state’s recent flooding disaster.

“I support the EPA lead paint abatement rule. There simply is no question that we must continue our efforts to rid lead-based paint from our homes. Maine children are at particularly high risk for lead poisoning because more than 60 percent of our state’s homes were built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978,” Collins said. “The problem is there still aren’t enough EPA-certified trainers in place to certify contractors. As a result, contractors face devastating fines. The intent of my amendment is to give small contractors and construction professionals more time to comply with the new rule.”