A Pennsylvania state senator has introduced a bill to ensure up to $15 million worth of funding for the state's scrap tire cleanup efforts over the next five years.
SB 1050, introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate Aug. 15 by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Dallas), would authorize the legislature to appropriate $3 million annually for five years from the state's recycling fund to a dedicated Used Tire Pile Remediation Restricted Account.
Those funds would be made available to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and to municipal governments for the strict purpose of remediating scrap tire piles. It also would provide grants to companies and organizations that sponsor scrap tire abatement activities.
The bill essentially reauthorizes a scrap tire law that has been on the books in Pennsylvania since 1996, but which hasn't been enforced since 2001, according to Gretchen Ramsey, Ms. Baker's legislative director.
Ms. Baker is particularly interested in scrap tire remediation because there are several large scrap tire stockpiles in her district and she is concerned about their impact on health, safety and the environment, Ms. Ramsey said.
For more than a decade, Pennsylvania has had a $1 fee on each new tire sold in the state to fund scrap tire cleanups, according to a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which supports Ms. Baker's bill. However, for years most of the money raised by the fee has been diverted to mass transit projects, especially in the Philadelphia area, the spokesman said.
Because of this, Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of being one of seven states that have more than 85 percent of the stockpiled scrap tires in the U.S. within their borders. The RMA estimates there are nearly 8 million scrap tires in Pennsylvania, although the DEP Web site places the number at 9.6 million.
In the past nine years, 26.8 million scrap tires have been cleaned up in Pennsylvania, according to the DEP. The state generates some 12.5 million scrap tires annually, it said.
SB 1050 was referred to the Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Environmental Resources. Committee Chairwoman Mary Jo White (R-Franklin), is one of the bill's co-sponsors, and the bill's supporters hope it will receive a committee vote in the fall, Ms. Ramsey said.
There is no companion bill in the Pennsylvania House Committee on Environmental Resources, according to a spokesman for that committee. In the Pennsylvania General Assembly, it is more usual to let a bill find its way through the other legislative body and then consider it, rather than introducing companion legislation, he said.