From: John Heilprin, Associated Press
Published November 8, 2005 12:00 AM

EPA Promises Lead-Remodeling Regulation by End of Year

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it would propose regulations by the end of the year to limit people's exposures to lead paint during home remodeling.


EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock told Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a letter that EPA staff are working diligently to propose a regulation by Dec. 30.


Obama said last Friday that he would block high-level EPA nominations until he received that commitment. In response to EPA's letter, he removed a senatorial "hold" Monday on President Bush's nomination of Susan Bodine to become EPA's assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response.


The office Bodine would oversee includes the Superfund program for cleaning up the nation's worst toxic messes as well as emergency cleanups from hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. It is now headed by an acting assistant administrator.


"Too many children have needlessly suffered from lead-paint poisoning, and we've already waited far too long to take action to protect them," Obama said, citing EPA figures estimating that lead paint from home remodeling leads to illnesses in 28,000 people each year.


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The agency will propose regulations requiring contractors to use greater care when they tear out ceilings, walls and other fixtures covered with lead-based paint. Congress in 1992 ordered EPA to develop those regulations by 1996, but the Clinton and Bush administrations never complied.


Earlier, Obama also had threatened to block Peacock from taking over EPA's No. 2 position if it did not issue the regulation.


Source: Associated Press


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