ALBANY, N.Y. (June 14, 2000) — The New York state legislature is considering a pair of bills that may allow it finally to begin cleaning up waste tire dumps around the state.
Legislators have wrestled with the problem for several years, but a plan never was implemented. In 1996, Gov. George Pataki vetoed a bill that would have allowed industry to burn waste tires for fuel.
One bill, sponsored by Sen. Malcolm A. Smith, D-Queens, would set up a state-funded program for cleaning up tire dumps, exempt waste tire recycling equipment from sales taxes, and give tax credits to tire recyclers.
Another bill, sponsored by Sen. Carl Marcellino, a Long Island Republican, would establish a committee to write regulations for the waste tire program.
Waste tires pose health and environmental risks, including serving as insect beeding grounds and heightening fire risks.
As many as 40 million old tires have been dumped, mostly illegally, in the Empire State, according to estimates. The counties with the worst problems are Albany, Cattaraugus, Columbia, Rensselaer, Ulster and Wyoming, each of which have sites containing 100,000 or more waste tires. Several other counties have smaller waste tire dumps.