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Contractors Upset Over New EPA Rules

Across the United States, renovations are being done to homes and businesses every day. Some of these homes were built before 1978--that’s the year that lead-based paint was banned. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency has established a new rule that will require all contractors to be lead-safe certified when remodeling. As KSMU's Adam Hammons reports, local contractors say that will place an unnecessary burden on them.

The mood in the room at the Springfield Homebuilder’s Association Tuesday was that of frustrated tension. Contractors from around the area were there to see Congressman Roy Blunt. They went to voice their concerns about the rule set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency that requires all contractors to get training before working in homes with lead-based paint.

The rule is scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

Larry Watts works for HomeVestors, which is a company that buys and renovates old houses.

“We have to realize that this action by the EPA actually negatively impacts the opportunity for our revenues in schools to go up and for us to live in better neighborhoods,” he said.

Watts explained that the new training that's requried will ultimately raise costs for builders. With this rise in costs, many companies may choose not to renovate homes, he said.

“I don’t know what the exact cost will be for us individually. It may only be a few hundred dollars per house, but if you multiply that over a hundred houses that get rehabbed in a year’s time, it makes a big difference,” Watts said.

Blunt said it was a chance to hear some real stories to take back to Congress.“These have much more value if you’re not saying, ‘Well, here’s what I think is happening,’ as opposed to, ‘Here’s what a contractor told me Tuesday,’” he said.

Blunt criticized the EPA rule.

“The federal government cannot continue to stand in the way of job creation and work force opportunity and hope to move us in the direction the economy needs to go right now,” the Congressman said.

For KSMU News, I’m Adam Hammons.