The Alabama Department of Environmental Management administers the state's new scrap tire program, which went into effect last August.
But if it weren't for the Alabama Tire Dealers Association, Alabama tire dealers would still know nothing about the program, according to Jeri McCafferty, the association's executive director.
``ADEM did not send a message to tire dealers when the law became effective,'' McCafferty said. The association has a friendly working relationship with ADEM's Scrap Tire Unit. ``But it is only because of our association that our people are even aware that the program exists.''
The Alabama legislature passed the Alabama Scrap Tire Environmental Quality Act in June 2003. Its provisions include a $1 fee on every new tire sold in the state, and a requirement that Alabama tire dealers register with the state's Department of Internal Revenue as collectors of that fee.
Gavin Adams, head of ADEM's Scrap Tire Unit, said that as of early January there were about 1,600 tire dealers registered with Internal Revenue. Larry Bryant, chief of ADEM's Solid Waste Division, estimated in early December that there are 2,300 tire dealers altogether in Alabama.
The registration rate is a function of the number of tire dealers who know their responsibilities under the law, McCafferty said. ``As more of them learn about it, they will register,'' she added. ``It's just a matter of getting the information to them.''
Before passage of the Alabama Scrap Tire Environmental Quality Act, Alabama had no scrap tire regulations in place. The Alabama Tire Dealers Association worked for 17 years to achieve scrap tire legislation, McCafferty said.
Adams acknowledged the association's role in drafting and lobbying for the bill and the resulting regulations, as well as its role in informing tire dealers of the new law. ``They held meetings around the state about the scrap tire law, and association members and non-members both came,'' he said.
Besides holding the informational sessions and sending notices about the scrap tire program to its members, the association also has extensive information about the program on its Web site, www.alatiredealers.com. The information includes a list of frequently asked questions and a number of links to other Web sites.
Two association members serve on the Scrap Tire Commission administered by ADEM, McCafferty said. The association has had changes made in the program to make its provisions easier to meet, she said. A couple of further changes will be before the legislature when it reconvenes this year, she added.