RadonLeaders.org
Skip top navigation

FY21 Appropriations News Relevant to Radon

Contributed by Jane Malone

The House Appropriations Subcommittees’ bills and reports for EPA and HUD have been approved by the House Appropriations Committee.

The Interior-Environment bill provides level funding for State Indoor Radon Grants and EPA’s Indoor Air and Radiation programs and the accompanying report repeats the same language as previous (see below).

The Transportation-HUD bill contains $5 million for a new radon demonstration program for public housing. Radon is listed among the health and safety hazards to be addressed by $2.75 billion in competitive capital funds for public housing and $250M in capital improvement grants for assisted housing.

In summary, this is a solid start from the House side with some new emphasis on radon directed toward HUD. We look to the Senate to be at least as supportive on all fronts. As usual, there is great uncertainty whether the coming year’s spending bills will resemble House and Senate committee activity or be merged into continuing resolution or omnibus packages with little similarity to their work. Stay tuned.

Some details below:
Report language
EPA State and Tribal Assistance Grants [SIRG]
Radon.—The Committee continues to support state radon program efforts that raise awareness about the associated risks of radon exposure. The Committee recommends $7,800,000, and the Agency shall prioritize radon grants to states that have adopted or are seeking to adopt statewide radon building codes, conduct awareness and education programs for homebuyers and renters, and that have in place adequate certification or credentialing requirements for radon measurement and mitigation workers. p. 107

EPA
Indoor Air and Radiation. The Committee recommends $24,951,000, equal to the enacted level and $20,131,000 above the request. The Agency is directed to continue to operate the Radon program as in fiscal year 2020. Additionally, the Committee notes the need to continue to maintain the U.S. source standard for radon gas for use by states and industry as the national bench-mark for radon measurement devices, and encourages the Agency to collect available radon test data to update the national U.S. EPA Radon Map and develop locality-specific classifications of radon risks. p.91

HUD
Radon testing demonstration. As part of the $5,000,000 competitive grant program provided for the radon testing demonstration, the Committee strongly recommends the Department consider the results it will obtain from the Radon Testing and Mitigation Demonstration Program to determine whether and, if so, how diagnostic testing for radon in current public housing should be conducted, how installation of radon mitigation systems should be conducted if radon is found at levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s radon in air action level, and whether radon monitoring by credentialed professionals should be conducted for radon monitoring on a biennial basis in housing units in which radon exceedances were found and mitigated. Additionally, the Committee inquired with the Department in the first quarter of 2020 who in the Department is responsible for radon-related activities and has not yet received a response. The Department is directed to provide this information to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations not later than ten days after the date of enactment of this Act. p. 110

Bill language
[none for EPA, the I-E subcommittee places its details in the report language as above]

HUD [Radon testing demonstration in the Public Housing Capital Fund]
That $5,000,000 of the amounts made available under this heading shall be for a radon testing and mitigation resident safety demonstration program (the radon demonstration) in public housing: Provided further, That the testing method, mitigation method, or action level used under the radon demonstration shall be as specified by applicable State or local law, if such law is more protective of human health or the environment than the method or level specified by the Secretary. p.135

HUD - Public Housing Capital Fund supplemental
Provided further, That $2,750,000,000 of the funds provided under this heading in this title shall be awarded by competition for activities that mitigate threats to the health and safety of residents, or reduce lead-based paint hazards and other housing related hazards, including carbon monoxide, radon, or mold: Provided further, That in administering funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this heading in this title, the Secretary may waive or specify alternative requirements for any provision of any statute or regulation in connection with the obligation by the Secretary or the use of these funds (except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment), upon a finding that such a waiver is necessary to expedite or facilitate the use of such funds. p. 243-244

HUD – Assisted Housing
Provided further, That not less than $250,000,000 of the grants made available under this heading in this title shall be for grants for activities that mitigate threats to the health and safety of residents; reduce lead-based paint hazards, and other housing related hazards including carbon monoxide, radon, or mold; improve water and energy efficiency; or reduce the risk of harm to occupants or property from natural hazards: Provided further, That projects funded with grants provided under this heading in this title must comply with the requirements of subchapter IV of chapter 25 31 of title 40, United States Code. Provided further, That in administering funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this heading in this title, the Secretary may waive or specify alternative requirements for any provision of any statute or regulation in connection with the obligation by the Secretary or the use of these funds (except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment), upon a finding that such a waiver is necessary to expedite or facilitate the use of such funds. p.256

Jane Malone
National Policy Director
American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists
410-708-8963
www.aarst-nrpp.com
AARST is a nonprofit, professional organization of members who are dedicated to the highest standard of excellence and the ethical performance of radon measurement, mitigation and transfer of information for the benefit of members, consumers and the public at large.