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Lumberyard owners from around the country carried drafts of S 2148 — the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendment Act — throughout the halls of Congress March 5 to 7, lobbying legislators to pass a more reasonable version of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting (LRRP) Rule. More than 110 dealers came to Washington, D.C., for the annual Legislative Conference of the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA).
Joined by the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, the groups co-hosted a congressional reception on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House building foyer. CNN contributor and GOP political strategist Alex Castellanos addressed both groups, along with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
Paying calls on Democrats as well as Republicans, NLBMDA members pressed various causes, including removing barriers to credit for small businesses. But the Lead Exposure Reduction Act was at the top of the agenda, having just been introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill already has five co-sponsors in the Senate, and the lobbying trip yielded two more — Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.).
Chris Yenrick of Smith Phillips Building Supply in Winston-Salem, N.C., visited with various U.S. House members, including Mick Mulvaney, a former builder who now represents a district in South Carolina, and Shelley Moore Capito, a representative from West Virginia.
Yenrick noted that his pitch for S 2148 got the best reception in the GOP offices. “They felt that the EPA had done some overreaching there,” he reported. The NLBMDA expects to have a House version of the bill introduced in the next several weeks.