Speaking up

Jenni Chase
January 24, 2011

According to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), federal agencies announced 43 major new regulations in fiscal year 2010, estimated to cost approximately $28 billion. Now, the congressman and fellow members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are looking to curb those costs, reaching out to industries like ours for suggestions. In a recent letter to National Glass Association CEO and President Phil James, Issa asked for help identifying regulations that have "negatively impacted job growth" in the glass industry. James' response: the Environmental Protection Agency Renovation, Repair and Painting Program.

To date, the RRP program has had the most impact on the residential window and door industry, but it affects glass retailers that offer window replacement services as well. In short, the lead paint rules require contractors performing renovations and repairs—including window replacements— to pre-1978 homes be conducted using lead-safe work practices. (For details, click here.)

The rules have had a decidedly adverse effect on involved contractors, according to a survey conducted by the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, McLean, Va. "Respondents provided a wealth of feedback—overwhelmingly negative—about the new rules, ranging from substantial increases in both hard and soft costs, to anecdotal accounts of lost business and other serious repercussions resulting directly from the rule," James wrote Issa in a Jan. 6 letter.

Now, the EPA is looking to extend the RRP program to public and commercial buildings, putting contract glaziers at risk for the same problems.

Several industry groups and associations—including the NGA, WDDA, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, and Window and Door Manufacturers Association—are working to alleviate the situation by petitioning the EPA and government officials.

"While we understand that EPA's lead paint rules were designed to address a defined health concern with respect to lead poisoning abatement, both the rule's broad application and its lack of flexibility have generated unintended consequences that are costing jobs, harming our industry and, by extension, hurting the nation's economic recovery," James says.

If there are other governmental regulations that are adversely affecting the glazing industry that you'd like to see presented to Congressman Issa, please submit your thoughts to Phil James at pjames@glass.org by March 1.

Jenni Chase is content director for the National Glass Association. She can be reached at jchase@glass.org.