Volume 12, Issue 5 - June 2011

WDMA Update

Grassroots Efforts
Leading the Charge to Protect Home Renovation
BY Michael O’Brien

In the face of seemingly relentless regulatory action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some in the construction sector may be tempted to throw their hands up in frustration. WDMA members are doing the opposite—joining together to fight back. At the WDMA Legislative Conference earlier this spring, door, window and skylight manufacturers from across the country joined forces in Washington, D.C., to take their case to Capitol Hill.

Progress Continues After the Visits

Shortly after the conference concluded, WDMA worked with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and other trade associations to host a Congressional staff briefing to update legislative aides about the EPA’s planned expansion of the rule. In addition, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with oversight over the EPA, circulated two letters to its administrator, Lisa Jackson, expressing concerns with the EPA’s actions and objecting to the planned expansion of the LRRP Rule. Inhofe was joined by Sen. Vitter (R-La.), Coburn (R-Okla.), Alexander (R-Tenn.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Blunt (R-Mo.), Hoeven (R-N.D.), Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Collins (R-Maine).

In May, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and a bipartisan group of 22 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives weighed in on our behalf, urging Jackson to halt EPA’s plans to include clearance testing requirements in commercial and public buildings. In their letter, the House members state that the agency is exceeding its authority in these actions and are highly critical of EPA’s poor implementation of the current rule, including a continuing lack of accurate lead test kits.

Representatives Pledge Support
Latta, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has oversight of the EPA, was joined in sending the letter by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), John Kline (R-Minn.), Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Larry Buchson (R-Ind.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Rick Berg (R-N.D.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), John Sullivan (R-Okla.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

Many of these members had been educated about the rule’s problematic effects on the remodeling industry by WDMA members during the Legislative Conference. This initial outreach was key in enabling members and staff to follow up and secure their signatures on the Latta and Inhofe letters. Manufacturers who were not able to attend are encouraged to reach out to legislators in their home districts, as establishing relationships now is critical.?We need to build the groundswell of support on Capitol Hill to continue to challenge the EPA Lead Rule and other regulatory efforts that may yet arise.

In addition to our LRRP activities on Capitol Hill, WDMA, along with the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, the National Association of Home Builders and the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, recently filed its opening brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging EPA’s removal of the LRRP Opt-Out provision, which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women living in the home to authorize their contractor to forego adherence to some of EPA’s RRP Rule requirements. WDMA and allies will also be meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which currently is reviewing the clearance testing rule in advance of its expected publication in July.

Michael O’Brien serves as president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.


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