The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement Tuesday night with the company behind HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” for mishandling lead-based paint during an episode of the show.
Magnolia, a company owned by TV hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines, must pay a civil penalty of $40,000 and take steps to ensure compliance with lead-based paint regulations, as well as educate the public on the law, according to the settlement.
The agency reviewed footage from one of the shows and found that Magnolia was not practicing proper lead-safe work practices. The Gaines are also required to use their show to educate the public about the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), which they violated
“It’s important that consumers and contractors understand that improper home renovation can expose residents and workers to hazardous lead dust,” EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine said in a statement attached to the settlement. The EPA has made regulating lead levels in drinking water one of the agency’s top priorities.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt shifted the agency’s agenda shortly after taking the helm in February 2017. He said the government would shy away from addressing man-made global warming and instead refocus its efforts toward public health issues, such as water safety.
EPA is getting “back to the basics of protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in April 2017 during a visit to Chicago. His visit came amid rumors the EPA was considering shutting down the Region 5 office, which has been mired in scandals throughout the past year.
Region 5 was responsible for administering rules in Flint during the town’s lead crisis. Flint citizens filed a lawsuit in January claiming the region failed to take the proper steps to ensure authorities were addressing the issue. The defendants were seeking a civil action lawsuit for $722 million in damages.
Michigan officials switched the small Eastern Michigan city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014 in a bid to save money. But the state applied the wrong regulations and standards for drinking water, which ultimately resulted in corroded pipes. (RELATED: Trump EPA Chief ‘Committed’ To Fixing Chicago Pollution)
Pruitt awarded Michigan $100 million to help replace Flint’s badly eroded and damaged water infrastructure. Former President Barack Obama initially signed off on the funding, but money was not distributed to citizens until after Pruitt approved it. (RELATED: EPA Gives $2 Million To The Team That Discovered The Flint Lead Crisis)
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