Volume 11, Issue 4 - May 2010

From The Publisher

Speak Up
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 doing nothing.

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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