Congratulations to tire dealers in Vermont and to the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA) for beating back proposed legislation that would have made recycling tires no different than recycling bottles and cans.
What a headache that would have been had such a rule passed.
The proposed legislation would have imposed a $5 to $10 deposit on the sale of new tires that dealers would refund when returned for disposal. It also would have mandated that all new tires carry a stamp or a brand indicating they were to be sold in Vermont.
This in a state that doesn't even have a scrap tire problem. So one has to wonder why the law?
But what's important here is that Vermont's independent tire dealers, aided by NETSA, squelched another ludicrous bill submitted by people who know nothing about tires or how the tire industry works.
And it reinforces the importance of the local lobbying efforts of state tire dealer associations and on the national level by the Tire Industry Association.
Without the watchdog efforts of these groups-along with their understanding of how proposed regulations move through the legislature-more of these bills might get passed.
That would lead to the even more difficult work of getting a rule repealed.
Had the Vermont bill passed, local tire dealers would have been placed at a serious disadvantage to their competitors in other states, who wouldn't have to charge their customers $5 to $10 more per tire.
They also would have had to take the time to explain to every customer why they were being charged the fee in the first place and that they would get back their money three or four years later when they disposed of the tire. Hopefully they'd be living in the state at the time.
This likely would have created a paperwork nightmare.
And what if the ``Sold in Vermont'' stamping was approved? Think of the difficulty tire dealers and tire manufacturers would have had with that one. If fill rates are bad now, what would they be like if dealers had to wait for a tire maker to produce Vermont-branded models?
We don't even want to think about what would happen if the idea caught on nationally.
Maybe it's their bulky size or the fact that they are virtually indestructible, but tires seem to be a lightening rod for legislators looking for a cause to get their names in the newspaper.
Sometimes such legislation is warranted, but more often it's rooted in a half-baked idea by legislators who want to fix problems that don't really exist.
The only thing tire dealers can do is stay vigilant to guard against such unnecessary legislation. Oh yes, and support their state and national tire dealer associations, too.