You know it really is a beautiful day outside and all I have to do today is a final polishing on two articles that I want to get posted on the HRC. The kids are back in school today, the wife’s out and my next project does not start for a few days – nothing can stop me now… Nevertheless, that all gets squashed with a simple email which not only affects me but every contractor in the State of Alabama.
If you remember in the 67 days and counting article, I came across a site that listed the current status of many states RRP compliance and was surprised to see our state listed as “Pending” with a ruling expected by the end of this month. I pulled a quick check of not only the Alabama Department of Public Health’s site (The agency in charge of the Lead programs in Alabama), but also the legislatures. Needless to say nothing was on their sites and not only did I ask the following questions in the blog article, but I sent an email with basically the same questions to the ADPH.
So what happens in this state if Alabama all of a sudden takes over the program? Will the prior required training certificate work? What about the firm certification form and money already sent “in good faith”? How about all the other states that are listed or are working on this program? Are there any other states that we do not know about? How about providing those of us trying to comply with your regulations, some legitimate information?
From the Alabama Department of Public Health
The rules/regulation go before the State Board of Health for review tomorrow (February 17, 2010). If the State Board of Health approved the rules, the next step is they must go through a public comment period. If all goes well we hope our regulation will go into affect sometime in May.
Well that’s just great, I can sense my day going downhill quick and they did not really answer my questions, so I repeated them and I actually got a phone call back. For a regulation going before the board, there were quite a few unknowns in there. Basically, they were not sure if they will honor any training done under the EPA’s program (grandfathered in). The only thing they were clear on is that training must be done through the State’s Safe State Program that is administered through UAB.
Well, how about the Firm Certification? Well according to them, you need to be certified by the EPA as there program will not be out in time. They may grant you a 6 month to 1-year reprieve on registering with the State though. They are looking at charging $600 for a 5 year State Certification which is 2X the cost of the Federal Cert, but they are not sure yet. Therefore, as a remodeling contractor, we not only get to pay the Feds $300 for the privilege of working for a month or two, but then we get to turn around and fork over twice that amount to the State for a rushed program.
Back to the training part, it gets worse – per an email from the “Safe State” program:
We have applied or EPA accreditation for the new Lead RRP Course. Based on what we hear back from EPA on our approval, we will be able to set a price for that course. We plan on doing one or two of these classes a month for a while here on campus in Tuscaloosa. We will also be able to do contract classes for people who request them at their facilities. We hope to get EPA approval within the month and start classes in March.
The class you just took in Indianapolis is good for EPA States for five years. When the State of Alabama takes over this Lead RRP Program from EPA, they will have to determine how long they will grandfather that training in for. Also, once Alabama takes over this program from EPA, training PROVIDERS like the University of Alabama, will have to apply to Alabama, etc to be recognized and there will be (hopefully) a grandfathering time in for that also.
While I do not know exactly how many contractors are in the State of Alabama, I can guarantee you that two classes a month would take probably a decade to get everyone required “Trained & Certified”. What is up with not only the EPA rushing a regulation through, but now our State is also doing the same thing? Do they not realize that not only are they screwing over legitimate contractors but they will also be fulfilling their own warning of “unintentionally driving up demand for non-compliant renovation projects?”
I strongly encourage that everyone should contact their local Senator and Representative today. It would be nice if we can either get this rushed proposal dropped and leave it with the EPA for at least a year or two, or at least force them to make it fair to all the legitimate contractors out there that have complied with the government mandate. Well it appears that the fun has only just got started and as I get more information, I will keep you informed. If you have any relevant information or items that may be of interest – feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.
P.S. – to add insult to injury it appears, I just got our Firm Certification in the mail. Nice timing…