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Contact: David Walker
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wddapress@wddalliance.org

WINDOW AND DOOR DEALERS SEEK RELIEF FROM EPA’S RENOVATION, REPAIR AND PAINTING RULE
DELEGATION TELLS OMB THAT EPA LEAD RULE IS HAZARDOUS TO RENOVATION INDUSTRY

WASHINGTON, DC  (March 17, 2010) – Dealers of windows and doors today urged the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to delay enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules slated to take effect April 22, 2010, and to retain an “opt-out” provision that offers an exemption for homes where no children under six years of age are in residence.

The regulation requires use of lead-safe practices for all renovation, repair and painting projects that may disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and schools built before 1978. Contractors doing the work must be certified by EPA. Violators can be fined up to $37,500 per day.

In a meeting with OMB officials, the small business leaders said EPA is forging ahead with its rule even though the majority of affected contractors are unaware of it, and are not certified to comply with EPA’s complex lead management procedures. “This stealth rule will take much of the industry by surprise,” said David Walker, Vice President of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance (WDDA). “EPA has not done due diligence to inform and educate renovators about it. Of those who do know about it, only a few are certified. By EPA’s own estimate, there are more than 220,000 remodeling contractors, and only 1,250 have received certification. If the effective date is not postponed, on April 22 more than 200,000 remodelers will be in violation of the law and subject to draconian fines.”

David H. Steele, President and CEO of The Window Gallery in Augusta, GA, said EPA’s estimate of the cost of the renovation lead rules is way off the mark. “EPA said the rule would add $35 to the cost of an average remodeling project,” Steele said. “That is simply ludicrous. This is a highly complex procedure. The EPA instruction manual is 288 pages long. Some people in the business expect it to add 20 percent to the cost, which could mean tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the project. We estimate it will add about $75 just to install a door or window. This rule has the potential of bringing the renovation and repair market to its knees.”

Jim Lett, President of A.B.E. Doors & Windows in Allentown, PA., said if EPA removes the opt-out provision, as it has reportedly agreed to do, “it will add a significant cost. We estimate that removing the opt-out provision will add a minimum of $120 to a small project and about 10-20 percent to a larger project for labor to setup, cleanup, teardown, disposal of waste and appropriate documentation. It’s not just the physical labor, there will also be new office procedures and additional recordkeeping. The last thing we need in these difficult economic times is add an additional monetary burden on homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage payments.”

Walker said EPA has not made a persuasive case of need for the rule. “This is a classic example of regulatory overkill,” he said. “Where young children are not present, the hazards associated with trace amounts of lead are negligible. Even companies certified by EPA say the cost of this rule will drive business away from them to operators that ignore the rules. This rule will impose huge costs on the economy and leave consumers less safe than before.”

Walker said also that renovators are concerned about another requirement that EPA is considering to require third parties to conduct on-site visits and validate that remodeling work was done according to EPA guidelines. “It is almost as if EPA bureaucrats have declared war on the remodeling industry,” he said. “Rather than consider ways to mitigate the impact of the rule, it’s like they are looking for ways to make it even more onerous. It is imperative that OMB restrain the EPA from its chosen course and send it back to the drawing board.”

The delegation urged OMB to postpone the effective date of the rule at least until the end of the year until EPA can undertake a public education program to make certain renovators and consumers are aware of the rule and its potential costs. They also asked OMB to insist that EPA keep the opt-out rule, and refrain from imposing third party validation requirements.



About WDDA
The Window & Door Dealers Alliance (WDDA) is the only business organization advancing the vital interests of independent window and door dealers. The primary mission of the WDDA is to represent the interests of retail, wholesale, and dealers of new and replacement windows, doors, skylights, and related building products. Based outside Washington, DC, the WDDA offers education and training through MyWindowClass.com – a state-of-the-art online training resource. In addition, the WDDA serves the industry and general public with its Web site: www.wddalliance.org. The WDDA is an initiative of the National Glass Association.