EPA has crafted a strong, proposed rule. It has adequately explained the proposed rule in the preamble. And it has published a detailed economic analysis that sufficiently explains its decisions. While EMI believes that changes are needed to make the rule more effective and more protective, it recognizes the challenge EPA faced as it negotiated the complex maze of ten often conflicting statutory and executive orders that must be complied with in order to propose the rule.
In these comments, EMI addresses EPA’s analysis of the proposed rules with respect to its responsibilities under Executive Order 12898 regarding Environmental Justice. In the preamble to the rule, EPA stated that the “rule will not have disproportionately high or adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations and low-income populations.” In its economic analysis, EPA concludes that the “ Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule seeks to protect both children and adults residing in rental target housing units or owner-occupied target housing units where a child under the age if six resides from exposure to lead during renovation work. As such, EPA concludes that the rule
will not lead to disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and low income populations. On the contrary, since a larger percentage of poor and minority households reside in rental housing, they may reap a greater share of the benefits.”
While EMI agrees with EPA that the rule should benefit poor and minority households, because of problems with how it is written and EPA’s enforcement plans, the rule may not realize the benefits EPA anticipates. The rule may have the unintended consequence of increasing racial and income disparities with respect to lead poisoning. This result would reverse the tremendous progress in reducing these disparities that have been documented in the late 1990s.