WDDA Brings Industry Concerns to EPA

June 28, 2010

A delegation from the Window & Door Dealers Alliance visited the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., delivering the organization's official response to the EPA's request for comments on proposed lead clearance testing rules under its Renovation, Repair and Paint program.  The WDDA group also brought nearly 200 letters gathered from dealers around the country discussing the impact of agency's lead paint rules on business to date.

David Sakin, left, and Josh Wolitsky of Premier Window & Building at EPA headquarters in Washington.

Visiting EPA headquarters were WDDA members Beth Cantrell, president of Better Windows by Beth Inc. in Chantilly, Va., and David Sakin, president, and Josh Wolitsky, sales manager of Premier Window & Building Inc. in Owings Mills, Md., as well as David Walker, WDDA VP.  "The trip to EPA was largely symbolic," he stated, "but our collective message is loud and clear: The proposed lead clearance testing and third-party validation amendment to the lead paint regulations go too far."  

EPA proposed adding dust wipe test requirements for renovation jobs where lead safe work procedures were required when the RRP rules went into effect at the end of April. Early in June, WDDA surveyed dealers to gauge the impact of the new lead paint rules and to seek input on the expected impact of proposed test requirements at the end of jobs. 

"Respondents have provided a wealth of feedback–overwhelmingly adverse–about the new rules, ranging from substantial increases in both hard and soft costs on each job (over and above EPA’s own estimate of a $250 incremental increase), to anecdotal accounts of lost business and other serious repercussions from the rule," Walker noted.  The WDDA delegation urged EPA officials to read the nearly 200 letters of concern from window and door dealers, expressing concern about the broad application and lack of flexibility of the RRP rules, and the "unintended consequences that are costing jobs, harming our industry and, by extension, hurting the nation’s economic recovery."

WDDA also noted its support for comments being filed by a number of building industry organizations suggesting that EPA is overstepping the authority given to it by Congress by imposing testing requirements at the end of such renovation work.  Through an effort organized by the National Association of Home Builders, an argument is being made that Congress intended that EPA would develop and apply appropriate training and certification requirements for lead safe work procedures, but that work practice standards– including clearance testing requirements–"would remain the subject of guidelines, not regulations," Walker explained.

“Our industry is steadfastly opposed to this over-reaching and unduly accelerated proposal,” he emphasized. “Should the clearance testing requirements become law, there is no doubt it will stifle work for our dealers, leading to widespread job cuts and further restraining our economic rebound.”