Chairman Rockefeller's Opening Remarks for Imported Drywall Hearing

May 21, 2009

I would like to welcome everyone here today, and express my regret for not being in attendance. I would also like to thank Senator Pryor for calling this hearing and investigating this disturbing issue.

A house is a substantial investment for any family.  But even more than that, it is a place where people should feel safe, where dreams are made, and great memories secured forever. 

For homeowners who have discovered tainted drywall surrounds them everyday – their dreams have become a nightmare. 

Families have seen their investments plummet, their health endangered, and their worries escalate.  It is time that those responsible for these problems are held accountable.

The homebuilders, drywall installers, and drywall importers will all point to the manufacturers as the cause of the problem.  There will be litigation between all parties, of that I am sure. 

But my main concern is with the individual homeowners who have nowhere to turn and very little recourse.  What happens to them?  Who makes sure they are protected and that they have a place to go?  They cannot be left out in the cold.
New homes come with an implied warranty of habitability.  If the builder of a home cannot deliver on this simple contract, they must be taken to task.

I also want to highlight my serious concern with how we assess the safety of imported products.

Problems with tracking the source of this tainted drywall are alarming and have unnecessarily delayed the full investigation. 

In this era of modern packaging and computerized tracking, there is no reason that all products should not have some sort of tracking identifier that can expedite a recall if there is a threat to human health.

I look forward to hearing the testimonies and discovering what our federal and state agencies are doing to address this important issue and help families in need.