by Tara Taffera
If you were thinking of ignoring the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) rules regarding lead paint that went into effect on April
22, here’s something that may change your “I’ll take a chance” attitude.
We all knew that these new regulations would create a feeding frenzy for
lawyers who would take it as an opportunity for litigation. On April 23
lawyers gathered at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, N.J., to attend the
following day-long seminar,
“Status and Future of Lead Paint Toxic Tort Litigation.”
“Practitioners who work in toxic tort litigation and those looking to
expand their practice will hear panelists discuss the successes and failures
that policymakers, attorneys and municipalities have faced through litigation
and legislation, as well as new strategies, aimed at redressing this problem,”
stated the press release publicizing this seminar.
If that’s not an additional reason to become a certified renovator, I
don’t know what is.
Contractors such as Doug Dervin, president of Double D Contractors Inc.,
and David Hauser, owner of Daystar Windows in Farmingdale, N.Y., members
of the Long Island Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling
Industry (NARI), are concerned enough about the devastating impact of
these regulations on their business that they organized a rally in Washington,
D.C., on April 15.
Originally it looked as if these efforts did not pay off as the EPA removed
the opt-out provision and stood firm on its April 22 implementation date.
But just one week later the situation changed again when the House and
Senate both introduced legislation that, if passed, could delay the implementation
date for at least one year until more contractors are trained (see page
26 and watch www.dwmmag.com
for the reports).
So whether this legislation is passed, I hope the industry looks to these
contractors as examples of the industry taking action and aiming to get
their voices heard. Dervin and Hauser also serve as an example of those
who stick to their convictions no matter what the opposition or lack of
support. For example, NARI’s national office chose not to participate
in the rally citing concerns that “any type of protest or demonstration
on Washington may derail all of the progress made so far.”
Why discourage these frustrated contractors from exercising their rights
to have their voices heard? Change doesn’t happen by sitting around and
I applaud all the contractors who attended the event in an attempt to
make their concerns heard (as well as those who visited their congressional
representatives, etc.). They weren’t trying to change the premise of the
law—they don’t want children to get lead poisoning. They just wanted a
few things. They wanted homeowners to have the right to choose, they want
renovators trained correctly and they wanted enough renovators trained
by the April 22 deadline. Mostly they just wanted their concerns to be
heard and considered—what’s wrong with that?
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