SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California Gov. Pete Wilson has signed an executive order and two state bills to help clean up California's estimated 15 million stockpiled waste tires. The executive order, which Wilson signed Oct. 7, releases $4 million in reserves from the state's scrap tire fund to allow the California Integrated Waste Management Board to intensify its scrap tire cleanup efforts.
The bills, signed the same day as the executive order, do the following:
extend the state's scrap tire abatement fee of 25 cents per new tire sold for 18 months, to Jan. 1, 2001; and
make it a crime to abandon waste tires while giving local governments authority to punish violators.
Without the freeing up of money from the tire fund or extension of the tire fee, the CIWMB was in danger of running out of money for its tire program, the board said in a press release.
The CIWMB hasn't been given a date as to when it actually will receive the $4 million.
``But freeing up the money from the fund is a major step forward,'' said a spokesman for the board contacted at his office in Sacramento.
Since its inception during the 1990-1991 fiscal year, the 25-cent tire fee has brought about $5 million annually to the CIWMB, for a total of about $34.1 million through fiscal year 1997-1998, the spokesman said.
Under the tire abandonment bill, city or county agencies may keep fines collected from violators if an attorney representing them initiates the charges. But those fines must be used for tire enforcement and cleanup programs.
In a prepared statement, CIWMB Chairman Daniel G. Pennington praised Wilson's actions as exemplifying ``strong environmental awareness and concern.''
The CIWMB release mentioned the Royster Tire Pile near Tracy, Calif., where an estimated 7 million tires burned in a fire last August, as demonstrating the need for further funding to clean up scrap tires. It did not mention revoking Oxford Tire Recycling of Northern California Inc.'s scrap tire operating permit. The board has not dismissed tires-to-energy electrical facilities as a productive use of scrap tires, according to the CIWMB spokesman. Cement kilns, asphalt rubber and playground matting are other avenues the state is pursuing, he said.