Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Texas Flip N Move (EQ Media, Inc.) Enter into Consent Agreement | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Flip N Move Productions and EQ Media, Inc. (collectively, “Flip N Move”) signed a letter of consent and definitive ordinance (“CAFO”) on February 3, listing alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). See file number TSCA-06-2020-6137.

The alleged violations relate to the TSCA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (“UVP”).

The said companies are said to be affiliated with the Texas television show “Flip N Move”. Note that in 2018 the EPA took a similar type of enforcement action against another home improvement show – the HGTV series “Fixer Upper” (Magnolia Waco Properties, LLC). (See previous post here.)

The EIA rules were issued in accordance with 15 USC Sections 2682, 2686 and 2687. The relevant regulations for lead-based paints generally require that certain devices:

  • Before starting renovation work, find out about the dangers of leaded paints
  • Establish standards for working practices in renovations that disrupt color and finishes in target homes and facilities used by children
  • Require that companies and individuals performing, offering, or claiming such renovation work are properly trained and obtain EPA certification

The rules can be found in 40 CFR Part 745, Subpart E.

The CAFO provides that the EPA conducted an inspection on or about July 19, 2018 to assess Flip N Move’s compliance with the TSCA and the RRP rule. The inspection reportedly took place at a renovation site in Boyd, Texas.

The CAFO also stipulates that Flip N Move carried out renovation work in accordance with 40 CFR § 745.83 at the time of the inspection. It provides that:

At the time of the EPA inspection and at all times relevant to this consent agreement and final arrangement, respondents were engaged in “renovation work”. . . For Compensation “under 40 CFR Section 745.82 (a) of at least thirty-one (31) structures, all located at 2145 County Road 4680, Boyd, Texas 76023.

The referenced structures are referred to as “target homes” within the meaning of Section 401 (17) of the TSCA, 15 USC § 2681 (17).

Some of the violations alleged in the CAFO include:

  • Flip N Move was unable to obtain 40 CFR § 745.89 certification prior to performing, offering, or claiming renovation work on target homes.
  • Flip N Move’s failure to obtain certification under 40 CFR § 745.89 prior to performing, offering, or using renovation work on target homes violates 40 CFR § 745.81 (a) (2) (ii) and Section 409 of TSCA , 15 USC § 2689.
  • At the time of the inspection, Flip N Move did not have any certified renovators on its staff and failed to assign a certified renovator to each of the thirty-one (31) renovations performed on the structures.
  • Flip N Move’s failure to assign a Certified Renovator to each of the thirty-one (31) renovations to the structures is in violation of 40 CFR § 745.89 (d) (2) and Section 409 of TSCA, 15 USC § 2689.
  • Flip N Move was unable to ensure that each of the thirty-one (31) renovations to the structures were completed in accordance with labor standards in 40 CFR § 745.85, including, but not limited to:
    • Signs clearly defining the work area in accordance with 40 CFR § 745.85 (a) (1);
    • Contain refurbishment waste in the work area before the waste is removed in accordance with 40 CFR § 745.85 (a) (4) (i); and
    • Storage of renovation waste under containment in accordance with 40 CFR § 745.85 (a) (4) (ii); (b)
  • Flip N Move’s failure to ensure that each of the thirty-one (31) renovations to the structures have been completed in accordance with labor standards in 40 CFR § 745.85 is a violation of 40 CFR § 745.89 (d) (3) and Section 409 of TSCA, 15 USC § 2689.
  • Flip N Move has not been able to maintain records showing that the requirements of 40 CFR § 745.85 have been met for each of the thirty-one (31) renovations of the structures under 40 CFR §§ 745.86 (a) and 745.86 (b) (6). .
  • Flip N Move’s failure to keep records showing that the requirements of 40 CFR § 745.85 have been met for each of the thirty-one (31) renovations to the structures is a violation of 40 CFR § 745.86 (a) and 745.86 ( b) (6) and § 409 TSCA, 15 USC § 2689.

Flip N Move neither admits nor denies the specific factual claims in the CAFO.

A civil penalty of $ 30,000 is imposed. The original fine of $ 248,037 has been reduced if Flip N Move has completed certain activities. These include:

  • Providing banners (graphic overlay) for two episodes of Texas Flip N Move that address the dangers of lead-based paint and the requirements for using a certified contractor
  • Provide a link to the EPA’s lead website on certain shows
  • Create a private webpage on the EQ Media website dedicated to lead-based paint
  • Include certain specified items related to the EIA rule and certain episodes of No Demo Reno (a television show produced by EQ Media).
  • Use a state-licensed and / or certified third-party company to conduct lead reduction activities in six target housing units or child-occupied facilities

Certain replacement conditions are given if the previous tasks cannot be carried out in an economically justifiable manner.

A copy of the CAFO can be downloaded here and the press release here.

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