Ohio tire dealers are closely monitoring a bill in the state house that would double the state's scrap tire fee to $2 and use the additional funds to pay for Ohio's litter cleanup.
House Bill 66, a comprehensive budget bill, passed in April with the proposed tire fee increase amended to it.
The state senate is now considering the bill and likely will vote on it in June, according to Larry Kane, president of the Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (OTDRA).
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources needs funds for its litter and recycling program so state representatives decided to pay for the program by raising the tire fee, said OTDRA Executive Director Gordon Gough.
The OTDRA has been working to eliminate the proposed tire fee increase by sending letters and meeting privately with lawmakers on the issue, said Mr. Kane, salesman for Terry's Tire Town in Alliance, Ohio.
``We're like a lot of organizations. We could have gone out and done a strong media campaign... but sometimes that can really hurt in the long-run I think, than if you can just negotiate these things out quietly,'' Mr. Kane explained.
He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had cleaned up all of Ohio's major tire piles yet still has plenty of funds left over for recycling research. Mr. Kane said he and OTDRA members are pointing this out to state senators and telling them that the tire fee should be abolished rather than increased.
However, a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA disagreed with Mr. Kane's assessment that the tire fee should be abolished.
She said the agency has cleaned up most of the piles of 1 million or more tires but still has more than 80 piles containing 3 million to 4 million tires altogether to address.
She said the state's largest tire dump, the Kirby pile near Sycamore, Ohio, still has 2 million to 3 million tires remaining, and the state may or may not be reimbursed for cleanup costs through litigation.
The scrap tire fee has funded cleanup of dumps and research and development of tire recycling methods, Mr. Kane said.
Like most states, Ohio dealers collect the $1 per tire fee on new tire purchases and remit it to the state. Since 1995, the tire fund has paid for the cleanup of 22 million scrap tires.
The current $1 tire fee generates $6 million annually. Approximately $3.5 million to $4 million is earmarked for scrap tire cleanup, an Ohio EPA spokeswoman said. The remaining dollars pay for administrative costs and the development of tire recycling.