Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AHFA Organises a Meeting

Industry leaders from across the country took part in a legislative and regulatory forum here this week, meeting with key officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as lawmakers, to discuss issues with a significant impact on the residential furniture industry.

At the top of the agenda for members of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) Board of Directors were the EPA's proposed rules for implementing the federal formaldehyde emission standard and the NLRB's reissuance of the so-called "ambush election rule."

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told the group on Tuesday that his tour of a North Carolina furniture factory in March, along with comments submitted by AHFA, helped the agency shift its thinking on how laminated products will be handled in the formaldehyde rules.

"AHFA staff and key member executives have been engaged on this issue since the proposed rules were released by the EPA last May," states AHFA CEO Andy Counts. "We have mobilized teams to meet with lawmakers in Washington, submitted technical comments and participated in public hearings on behalf of the industry. We were gratified to hear from Mr. Jones that our message is being heard."

During the two-day meeting on Capitol Hill, executives also met with eight different lawmakers, including Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC), as well as Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Bob Latta (R-OH), Lee Terry (R-NE), Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

Attendees, in addition to AHFA staff, included executives from American Leather, A.R.T., Ashley, Century, Craftmaster, DMI, Gat Creek, Flexsteel, Home Meridian International, Hooker, Johnston Casuals, Klaussner, Magnussen, Riverside, Sauder Woodworking, Universal, Vanguard, Vaughan-Bassett and Veneman.

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