Protest Against EPA Lead Rules Planned for Washington

April 5, 2010

The New York City/Long Island chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry is spearheading an April 15 protest in Washington, D.C., to ask for a delay and modifications to new lead paint rules set to go in effect April 22.  Organizers have reached out to numerous other NARI chapters and other groups "hoping for thousands" of contractors to turn out for the event.

"We can either lead the way to amend this legislation or stand back and watch the industry drive off a cliff,"  says David Hauser of Daystar Windows in Farmington, N.Y., one of the contractors on the rally committee. Plans for the event are still under development, but organizers are hoping to attract Congressional representatives, as well as representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency.  "We need dialogue," Hauser states. "We want to hear their side of the story."

A flyer promoting the April 15th protest in Washington

The NARI NYC/LI chapter is planning to bring contractors down by bus on the day of the protest. Hauser reports that other chapters are considering similar plans. The group has also reached out to the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, which will be represented at the event by Jim Lett of A.B.E. Windows & Doors.

Last week, more than 50 members of the NARI chapter met with Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), at an event on Long Island to urge EPA to delay implementation of the new lead paint rule. “This rule is well-intentioned but we must be governed by reality, not good intentions,” Bishop said at the event. “In less than a month, more than 90 percent of Long Island’s licensed home renovators will be out of compliance with the law. That suggests to me that there’s a problem with the law, not the renovators.”

Bishop, who joined with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) in sending a letter to the EPA asking for a delay in implementation of the lead paint rules, noted that this rule is also being imposed at the same time as federal stimulus funds are made available to renovate older homes to improve energy efficiency. “We have two well-intentioned ideas which are at loggerheads with one another,” the congressman noted.  “This is the kind of thing that drives people nuts about government. I support delaying implementation of this rule so we can allow people to work and get it right. I take lead paint very seriously; I just want to make sure we’re going about this in a way that doesn’t unnecessarily harm renovators and homeowners.”

A copy of the letter to Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator, can be viewed on Rep. Bishop's Web site