Regulatory Affairs Roundup: MnDOT Restrictions, Lead Paint, OSHA Injury Reporting Deadline, Water Rule Change Delay

MnDOT Spring Load Restrictions
The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) spring load restrictions caused headaches for builders and developers.

Spring load restrictions, which bar heavy trucks from state trunk highways, are meant to protect these roads from damage during the spring thaw. Local governments often adopt MnDOT’s spring load restrictions in order to protect county, city and townships roads. The spring load restrictions went into effect in early March for the southern third of the state and in mid-March for the northern two-thirds of Minnesota.

MnDOT has an eight-week maximum timeframe for spring load restrictions. Spring load restrictions in the Southwest and Metro frost zones were lifted on April 30, the South frost zone on May 1, the Central frost zone on May 11, the North Central on May 16 and North frost zones on May 17.

Federal Lead Paint (RRP) Rule Remains Unchanged
A report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends no changes to its lead paint (RRP) rule. Lead paint, banned in 1977, can be found in many pre-1978 homes. The EPA RRP Rule outlines safe workplace practices and procedures for remodeling of pre-1978 homes to limit both worker and occupant exposure to lead paint and lead dust. Exposure to lead and lead-based paint can cause a variety of health concerns, including cognitive impairment and developmental problems in children.

Although no changes were recommended, the EPA review noted one of the biggest complaints from remodelers: the lack of affordable and accurate test kits.

In addition to this review, the Ninth District Federal Court ordered the EPA to revise the rule in December 2017, saying the EPA needed to recommend a change to its lead dust standard by March 27 and issued a 90-day extension on March 26. The EPA Inspector General is also reviewing the enforcement and implementation of the EPA RRP Rule.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is considering proposing its own RRP Rule in Minnesota, which could be affected by any changes at the Federal level. Initial drafts of Minnesota rules would have increased remodeling costs across the state and Housing First Minnesota led the charge to ensure that remodeling remains affordable should the state enact its own RRP Rule.

OHSA Injury Reports Due July 1
In April, OSHA released additional information on safety data employers are required to submit electronically, fixing an error with a recently-enacted Federal rule. MNOSHA, administered by DLI, is in the process of adopting this Federal regulation and all employers with 20 or more employees will be required to submit their data on workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017 by July 1.

Beginning in 2019, workplace injuries and illnesses for the previous year must be submitted by March 2.

Water of the United States Update
The EPA is planning on releasing an updated “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition in August. WOTUS, enacted in 2015, gives the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to protect “navigable waterways,” the effect of which has been delayed and costly federal permits to build or modify lands near covered waterways.

The main criticism of the WOTUS rule is that it includes an expanded definition of federally-regulated waters far beyond the waters the rule was intended to protect, including canals, collection ponds, ditches and isolated wetlands. Experts expect the new definition to be narrower, reducing the number of projects requiring a Federal permit.