LOS ANGELES (Aug. 28, 2008) — Environmental secretaries from 10 U.S. and Mexican border states have signed the Tire Initiative Letter of Understanding, in which they pledged to implement scrap tire pile prevention procedures and eliminate existing tire piles as public health risks.
The signing was part of the Border Governors Conference in Hollywood; officials from California, Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas attended, according to a press release from Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The letter is one of many initiatives arising from the Border 2012 Program, a U.S.-Mexican effort to address and solve all the health, safety and environmental problems along the two nations' borders.
The letter is essentially identical to the one signed by the Rubber Manufacturers Association in San Diego in May, according to RMA Vice President Michael Blumenthal. Also, like the RMA letter, the border states letter essentially reaffirms a scrap tire management effort that has been ongoing for nearly a decade, Blumenthal said. So far the partners in Border 2012 have removed about 4 million scrap tires, according to the EPA.
The next Border 2012 meeting is planned for the first week of September in Ciudad Juarez, according to Blumenthal. At that time, he said, the RMA will host a side meeting specifically on scrap tire solutions. The signing of the border states letter is a hopeful sign for the scrap tire abatement effort, Blumenthal said, because scrap tires are only a small part of an enormous, highly complex health and environmental effort between the U.S. and Mexico.
“There needs to be more momentum on scrap tires,” he said. The May conference in San Diego on scrap tire solutions was a good start, he added.
“Now that the dust has settled, we hope we can sit down and discuss the best way to proceed on scrap tires,” Blumenthal said. “If we can get a clear signal from the state and federal governments, we might be able to jump-start something.”