WASHINGTON (Sept. 21) — Representatives of the tire recycling industry are gearing up for a fight over a federal appeals court ruling on Environmental Protection Agency interpretations of the Clean Air Act.
The court ruled in June that the EPA violated the plain intent of the Clean Air Act by allowing industrial facilities that burned TDF and other alternative fuels to be regulated under Section 112, which governs industrial boilers, instead of the more stringent Section 129, which governs hazardous waste incinerators.
The result of the ruling, according to some industry experts, is that industrial users of TDF could turn away from the material.
"This not only affects TDF, but it will affect all aspects of tire recycling," said Michael Sorcher, president of MA Associates Inc., a major TDF marketer based in Overland Park, Kan. "Whenever there's a major regulatory challenge, it affects the whole industry structure."
The EPA must now promulgate new rules governing alternative fuels, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association has already recommended that the agency add language to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act specifically exempting scrap tires being used for beneficial purposes from being defined as solid waste.
The environmental groups that sued the EPA in the first place, however, are skeptical.
"I've seen no evidence to back up those apocryphal positions, but they will have the chance to make their case during the rulemaking," said John Walke, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.