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New York State Begins Scrap Tire Recycling Program

Washington, DC— After many years of debate and a hard-fought effort by the tire industry, New York State enacted a law to clean up millions of scrap tires and to encourage viable markets for millions of additional old tires that are discarded every year.

The measure was initially vetoed by New York Governor George Pataki but was overridden by the Legislature.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which represents tire makers, said that the new law is long overdue to clean up the state's 40-50 million stockpiled scrap tires - the nation's second highest amount after Texas. Additionally, New Yorkers generate another 20 million scrap tires annually.

RMA testified earlier this year before the New York Legislature urging the state to adopt a scrap tire program that included a dedicated fee, stockpile abatement and development of viable scrap tire markets for fuel, civil engineering projects and products such as playground coverings.

The new law creates a dedicated fee to fund scrap tire clean up efforts across the state and to help establish end use markets for scrap tires. A $2.50 fee will be collected at point-of-purchase for all new tires sold. An additional $2.50 per-tire fee (including the spare tire) will be assessed on purchasers of new vehicles bought in the state.

The new fees take effect on October 1 and are expected to raise $28 million through March 31, 2004. Beginning April 1, 2004, the fees are expected to generate $56 million annually. Only part of those funds will be directed to a new scrap tire fund. Through March 31, 2004, $8.125 million will be put into the fund and $16.25 million will be available annually for scrap tire activities beginning April 1, 2004.

"We are disappointed that New York is going to use a significant portion of the tire fee to spend for purposes other than scrap tire cleanup and market development," Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director, said.

An earlier scrap tire proposal by Governor Pataki would have generated only $2.5 million for scrap tire efforts. The governor had proposed a $2.50 fee on all new tires but would have directed 80 percent of it to the state's general fund to help alleviate New York's budget deficit. Only ten percent would have been designated for scrap tire cleanup and the remaining funds would have gone to tire dealers to cover administrative costs for collecting the fees. RMA vehemently opposed that plan.

"A much greater percentage of the fees paid by consumers in this bill will go directly to address a significant environmental problem in New York," Blumenthal said. "Additionally, the fees are scheduled to end when this law sunsets in 2010."







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