"If you do not cease unauthorized take of these species within 60 days, we plan to seek redress through litigation," Elizabeth Forsythe, senior attorney with Earthjustice's BioDefense Program, states in the filing. "The loss of salmon and steelhead populations has already significantly diminished the commercial and recreational fisheries of the West Coast, and these depleted populations cannot withstand the continued toxic assault from 6ppd-quinone."
The citizen complaint comes on the heels of an Aug. 1 petition filed by three Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest—comprising nearly 10,000 people—who also are demanding an immediate ban on the manufacture and sale of tires containing 6ppd.
6ppd is crucial to consumer safety in preventing cracking and splitting of tires during tire wear. However, 6ppd can morph into 6ppd-quinone during tire abrasion (reacting with ground-level ozone), an offshoot chemical that is toxic to fish.
"This chemical kills the coho salmon that we need to restore damaged coho runs that were once abundant," IFR and PCFFA Executive Director Glen Spain told Rubber News in a statement. "Coho salmon, which can no longer be harvested given their extremely low numbers, are already on the brink of extinction and 6ppd use in tires has now been revealed as a major driver of these losses."
A spokesperson for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association said the association is aware of the notice letter and is reviewing it.
The two fishing industry groups argue in the 38-page notice that the tire makers—including Goodyear, Michelin, Continental and Bridgestone, along with nine other members of the USTMA—are in violation of Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act.
The notice cites nine Chinook salmon, four coho salmon and 11 steelhead trout fisheries that have been affected by 6ppd and are protected under the ESA.