NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Connecticut legislature has passed a bill reversing the effects of a 1998 state court decision that could have seriously hindered the tire recycling industry and burdened tire dealers. H.B. 6621, passed June 9, contains a provision that narrowly defines hazardous waste so that scrap tires are excluded from the state statutory definition.
The legislature enacted the bill because of a state court's ruling that the business of transporting scrap tires was not subject to a state service tax because scrap tires were a hazardous waste.
That ruling favored Oxford Tire Supply Inc., a scrap tire hauler, which claimed it didn't have to pay a state hauler's tax because scrap tires are a hazardous waste.
State environmental laws provide an exemption for hazardous waste haulers from service taxes. Prior to the court case, scrap tires were listed as a ``special waste'' under Connecticut solid waste regulations.
The bill's passage, pending the governor's signature, is a legislative victory for tire industry groups that collaborated on the issue when it surfaced earlier this year.
A decision by Connecticut to keep scrap tires classified as hazardous waste would have had a far-reaching impact on tire dealers, said John Serumgard, chairman of the Scrap Tire Management Council (STMC).
``No state has ever held that scrap tires are a hazardous waste,'' Mr. Serumgard said at a June 10 press conference at the International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA) World Expo, June 9-12 in Nashville.
``If the court decision had not been challenged, it would have needlessly increased public anxiety about scrap tires, complicated the handling requirements for managing scrap tires and could have eliminated many legitimate markets,'' David Poisson, executive vice president of the Tire Association of North America (TANA), said in a prepared statement.
The STMC, ITRA, the Rubber Manufacturers Association, TANA, the Connecticut Tire Dealers Association and the New England Association of Independent Tire Dealers all cooperated on the new statutory definition contained in the bill.