The Washington state legislature is considering a bill that would create a 75-cent tax on new and used tires to pay for scrap tire cleanup.
House Bill 1705 calls for tire dealers to levy the tax and keep 10 percent to pay for administrative and collection costs. Twenty-five cents of the fee would be deposited into a motor vehicle account that pays for road maintenance, particularly if those materials comprise recycled rubber, according to the bill. The Northwest Tire Dealers Association is opposing the bill, however, because it believes the tire industry is capable of handling and cleaning up any scrap tires that are generated, according to Executive Director Dick Nordness.
``Ten years ago we were in favor of a bill that did clean up scrap tire problems,'' Mr. Nordness said. ``Both Oregon and Washington have cleaned up their scrap tire piles, so we don't see a need for it.''
In 1989 the state passed its original scrap tire tax that paid for the cleanup of Washington's largest tire piles and later sunset it in 1995. Mr. Nordness contended that, as a result, a scrap tire management problem no longer exists.
``The Washington Department of Ecology says that there's piles out there, but they don't give any locations,'' he said, adding that the department also hasn't released any quantities for those piles either.
Mr. Nordness also noted that the lead sponsor of the bill and the Department of Ecology maintain that a tire fee is needed to clean up approximately 1 million tires from a tire storage site owned by Ty Ross in Goldendale, Wash., he said. The owner of that pile, the only large one Mr. Nordness knows of in the state, refuses to clean up the tires even though he has the financial ability to do so, he said.
``The state thinks it's a lot easier to create a new fund and clean (the pile owner's site) up than fight him in court,'' he said.