Keeping Wisconsin RRP Rule Revenues In Wisconsin

No matter whether you’re on the right wing or left wing of politics, or somewhere in the center, or no matter whether you think the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule is a great idea or a terrible one, any Wisconsin resident or Wisconsin-based business should lobby their legislators to support AB 479, a bill that aims to keep the state’s RRP rule revenues in Wisconsin.

AB 479 was recently introduced in the Wisconsin legislature by Rep. Tom Larson. The bill’s aim is to raise fines for people who violate Wisconsin laws concerning the spread of lead-based dust during home remodels. The EPA is actually requiring Wisconsin raise these fines so that Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) can retain authority over the EPA’s lead paint remodeling laws. By retaining this authority, revenues paid to comply with the lead paint laws—in the form of company fees and fines—stay in Wisconsin and support local government jobs. If AB 479 is not signed into law, DHS will lose regulatory authority over the RRP rule. If that happened, revenues would be shipped off to Washington, D.C., where they would support bureaucrats there. And if this happened, certain public servants in Wisconsin could see worse job security, or they might even lose their jobs altogether.

I’ve worked closely for the past 5 years with many people in DHS, and I’ve also worked with the EPA on a number of occasions. DHS servants are quick to answer questions and fix certification issues. If DHS loses administration of the RRP rule, I and thousands of other professionals in the lead remodeling industry will lose valuable contacts, and Wisconsin will lose decades of institutional knowledge of how remodeling can cause lead poisoning.

In 2011 the EPA mandated that states overseeing their own RRP rule raise their minimum fine to $1,000 and the maximum fine to $5,000 or risk losing authority over the rule. It may seem unsubstantial, but this is all AB 479 does—it simply adjusts the rule’s fines so we can keep RRP administration in Wisconsin. Without AB 479 being signed into law, the day is fast approaching when EPA will finally pull the plug on Wisconsin’s RRP oversight and set in motion a chain of events that will most certainly put more children at risk of being poisoned by lead. This would be a tragedy.

The bill’s full text can be read here.

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