Contractors Join at Capitol to Call for Lead Paint ChangesApril 15th, 2010 by Editor
“I am determined to do whatever I can to delay this lead rule.” Those weren’t the words of contractors who this will affect, but rather the voice of Congressman Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who spoke before a group of contractors who gathered at the Capitol Hill today to call for some changes regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead paint rules.
Many of the contractors in attendance were part of the Long Island chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). They traveled to Washington, D.C., today to make their voices heard about the impending lead paint rule. The group is calling for a delay of the April 22 implementation date so more contractors can be trained as well as preservation of the opt-out rule. (If the opt-out rule stays in, then homeowners who live in homes built prior to 1978 who don’t have children under the age f six or pregnant women living in the home can opt-out of the lead paint regulations.)
In addition to the contractors present, representatives of Gorell Windows and Doors played a large role in the organization of the event and several representatives from the Pennsylvania-based window manufacturer were present, including the company’s Mike Rempel. He urged attendees to immediately contact their elected officials to let them know how vastly they will be affected by these regulations.
“You’ve heard others speak to you today about how this will affect them and what I want to do is tell you what to do about it,” he said.
Rempel reported that he and other members of the Northeast Window and Door Association had meetings with elected officials throughout this week.
He also advised contractors not to be concerned if they couldn’t get right to an elected official.
“Often times it’s the high-level staffer who handles this issue. Get to someone in the office,” he said.
Other speakers included Kevin Seiling from VEKA, who spoke on behalf of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. Like many contractors, he told attendees he doesn’t feel EPA’s certified renovator training is being conducted properly. He likened it to AAMA’s Installation Masters program, which utilizes a 365-page manual and five days of training; the EPA training program for the lead regulations, however, cover 288 pages in just eight hours, he said.
And while many people spoke about the effect this will have on contractors, many also pointed out that it will have a huge effect on the homeowner.
“The saddest part is this will affect Middle America the most,” said Seiling.
While the EPA estimates that these rules will add only $35to the cost of a window, contractors say it is much higher. Seiling estimates it at an extra $121 per window.
“People will spend their money elsewhere,” he said. “It will hamper the recovery.”
Seiling also said Homestar won’t help offset these costs as, “Homestar is a temporary credit while this [lead paint rules] is a permanent cost.”
Jim Lett of A.B.E. Windows and Doors, a window contractor in Allentown, Pa., echoed Seiling’s comments and spoke of the impact it will have on his business.
“I have no problem of following the law as currently written,” said Lett. “I do have a problem with the EPA removing the opt-out.”
Lett said only nine percent of his customers would fall into the category of pregnant women or women with children under the age of six.
“What I do have a problem with is putting this burden on the other 91 percent of my customers,” he said.
So where do we go from here with only one week until April 22?
“I truly hope the powers that be will listen to reason and preserve the opt-out provision,” said Lett.
Bishop urged his fellow Congressional members to join him in his opposition to the rule.
“Don’t impose this in a way that will put contractors out of work,” said Bishop.
“I know that vast majority are not trained and we have to be practical.”
For more photos fromt eh event check out our DWM page on Facebook.