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In December 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had ninety days to update lead-based paint and lead-dust hazard standards, setting a deadline of March 27, 2018. On March 20, 2018 the EPA filed for a ninety-day extension, arguing the court failed to make its ruling final, thus not starting the countdown for the deadline. Despite objections from environmentalists, the court granted the extension setting a new deadline of June 27th.
The EPA had been working to propose new regulations, going so far as to submit a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) intended to strength the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Paint regulations. Upon news of the Court’s ruling, the EPA withdrew the proposal, just three days after submitting it with the expectations of the Court granting the extension.
The list of actions the EPA plans to take is lengthy, leaving some cautiously optimistic about the lead dust and renovation updates, however, uncertainty exists about updating the definition of lead-based paint. Tom Neltner, the Chemical Policy Director of the Environmental Defense Fund, explains because of different agencies (including the EPA, HUD, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, individual states, etc.) each using their own definition for lead-based paint, there is a gap in the regulation of the substance. Mr. Heltner added “We’re hoping that HUD and EPA coordinate, so they are using one definition of lead-based paint.”
The clock is ticking for the EPA, the deadline of June 27th is approaching fast.