The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has begun an $18.5 million, two-year cleanup of a stockpile in central New York that may contain half of the state's scrap tires.
The Fortino site holds an estimated 12 million to 15 million tires, compared with the DEC's estimate of 29 million scrap tires in 95 stockpiles within the state. The project began last spring. Contractor Delaney Construction Corp. of Mayfield, N.Y., consolidated the Fortino pile into a single mountain 75 feet high at its peak. The state's cleanup deadline for the site is September 2007.
Besides its massive size, the Fortino site has been of concern to the DEC because it is located less than three miles from Oneida Lake, one of the most important fisheries in the state.
After years of controversy, the New York Assembly passed a scrap tire abatement bill in May 2003 charging motorists $2.50 per new tire purchased for scrap tire cleanup. The state estimated at the time that the fee would bring in $28 million its first year, but the Rubber Manufacturers Association complained that only $8.13 million of that money-less than 30 percent-was actually earmarked for scrap tires, with the rest going to the state's general fund.
Gov. George Pataki wanted $5.6 million of the $28 million going for that purpose-and vetoed the bill as passed. The assembly, however, overrode his veto.
A spokesman for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance had no hard figures on how much money his department has collected so far from the scrap tire fees. He estimated the fee brings in $6 million to $7 million per quarter.