Tire dealers, service station owners and independent tire repairers have hope of obtaining an important Superfund liability exemption under a Democrat-sponsored bill in the House of Representatives.
The bill was introduced Feb. 26 by Reps. Michael Capuano and Barney Frank, both D-Mass. It exempts service stations and automotive repair facilities from the used oil retroactive liability provisions of Superfund.
It is similar to a used oil exemption bill introduced in the Senate last Oct. 3 by Sens. Bob Smith, R-N.H., and James Inhofe, R-Okla.
This legislation has become particularly important to New England legislators because of the massive liability issues surrounding the Superfund site in Plastow, N.H., according to Roy E. Littlefield III, government affairs director for the International Tire & Rubber Association.
Some 1,400 tire dealers, service station owners and independent garages are being held liable by the Environmental Protection Agency because of used and recycled oil in that site, he said.
Even more important, however, is that the House bill is sponsored by Democrats. ``We're going to try to get bipartisan support,'' Mr. Littlefield said.
``Last year in the Senate, it was only the Republicans who supported a used oil exemption for us in the omnibus energy bill, and the vote split along straight party lines.''
ITRA plans a concerted effort to gain acceptance for the bill, including a meeting with EPA officials to which members of the New England congressional delegation are also invited, according to Mr. Littlefield.
Neither the House nor the Senate bill is scheduled for hearings, but the unofficial word from Sen. Smith's office is that Sen. Smith may try to add his bill as an amendment to a Superfund reform bill.
``I don't think it will move by itself, but if it's part of a package, maybe we have a chance,'' Mr. Littlefield said.