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Attorney General Settles With Newbury Farmers For Violations Of Lead Law

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5506

February 23, 2009 - Newbury farmers Robert and Kim Gray agreed to make payments to the State of Vermont and to take steps to reduce lead hazards at their rental property as a part of a settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. The Grays agreed, in addition to performing all maintenance that the lead law requires, to complete additional lead hazard reduction work identified by the Vermont Department of Health and to pay the State of Vermont a civil penalty of $5,000.00.

“Vermont farmers should understand that the housing they provide to workers is rental housing under our lead law,” said Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “This is the first lead enforcement case my Office has brought against farmers who provide housing to workers. We hope it will be the last.”

The Grays were notified by the Department of Health of specific lead hazard reduction work to be performed at their property. Their failure to perform the work or to agree to a schedule for timely compliance with the Department resulted in the enforcement action brought by the Attorney General’s Office. As a part of the settlement, the Grays agreed to reimburse the State for the costs of a Department of Health inspection upon completion of the work.

Lead-based paint in housing is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning, which can cause harmful health effects including decreases in IQ. Vermont’s lead law requires that essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) be performed in all pre-1978 rental housing, whether or not a child lives in the property and whether or not rent is charged. Annually, an EMP Compliance Statement certifying completion of EMPs needs to be submitted to the Department of Health, to the owner’s insurance carrier and to all tenants of the property.

For copies of the court documents in this case and recent enforcement actions involving lead, as well as links to a video and written information concerning the duties of owners and managers of pre-1978 rental housing, see the Attorney General’s website at: www.atg.state.vt.us and click on “Lead

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.