SACRAMENTO—Two tire-related bills before the California legislature have been revised and will be the subject of a July 5 hearing before the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
California Assembly Bill 509 would require the state to replace its current Rubber Pavement Market Development Act, which gives grants to municipalities for rubberized asphalt road projects, with a new Tire Recycling Incentive Program Act.
The new act would require the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to establish an incentive program to make payments to entities that purchase waste tire material to use in making products for end-users.
The California Tire Dealers Association remains neutral on AB 509. The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association threw its support behind the bill after it had been revised. Those changes, according to CTDA Legislative Representative Terry Leveille, are:
• Increasing the Tire Fund balance threshold—the threshold at which CalRecycle can hold a public hearing to initiate a regulatory tire fee of up to $1 per new tire sold—to $25 million from $10 million. "However, given the large Tire Fund balance, it may be several years before the balance is spent down," Leveille said.
• Requiring that at least $30 million be budgeted to the incentive program, on top of the approximately $40 million budgeted to tire programs already.
"The only problem I see with that scenario is that moving from tire grants to a new tire recycling incentive program will take some time," Leveille said.
"Local governments and school districts, used to obtaining grants for asphalt rubber, playground covers, etc., will now have to purchase them from the California manufacturers who will receive the incentives," he said. "There is no mandate to pass any cost savings to end-users, although a manufacturer will need to drop prices if they hope to sell their wares."
The committee will also consider the third amended version of Assembly Bill 1180, which seeks to reduce the amount of zinc in stormwater.
Both the CTDA and the USTMA opposed the first version of AB 1180. The CTDA dropped its objections after a provision to increase the state tire fee by $1.50 per tire was withdrawn, but the USTMA continued to oppose AB 1180 until very recently.
The USTMA's hostility to the bill stemmed mostly from a provision that would have required the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to designate tires that contain zinc as a priority subject of regulation under the state's Green Chemistry initiative.
"Zinc oxide is an ingredient in tires, and tires cannot be manufactured without its use," the USTMA said in an opposition statement. "The proposed amendments to AB 1180 employ the political process, not science, to regulate a substance used in tires."
The new version of AB 1180 veers away from tires toward a strict concentration on stormwater, particularly in the Los Angeles area, according to Dan Zielinski, USTMA senior vice president, public affairs.
The USTMA would also like to see some sort of mechanism within AB 509 to measure the efficacy of providing financial incentives to recycled rubber product makers in bringing recycled rubber products to end-use markets, Zielinski said.
Correction: The USTMA has shown support for California Assembly Bill 509. A previous version of the story said the association had taken an neutral stance on the bill.