Colorado legislators have removed a provision in a bill that would have more than doubled the state's scrap tire fee and used the extra money to fund non-tire projects.
Senate Bill 09-031 would have created a grant program for developing clean technology research projects and funded some of those grants by raising the fee to $3.25 per tire from $1.50.
Since it passed the state Senate in February, the bill was modified in the House in early April into a research bill for renewable energy with a different funding mechanism.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) welcomed the news, as the higher fee would have brought $14 million annually to the state, but its provision to pay for a scrap tire program was subject to too many conditions to make an impact on Colorado's scrap tire problem.
From our perspective, that was the right thing to do, said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president of environment and resource recovery.
Mr. Blumenthal noted that he and Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president of public affairs, visited with state legislators since the bill's introduction early this year to discuss Colorado's need to use its tire fee for market development.
The state has markets for 3.5 million scrap tires but generates an estimated 4.5 million scrap tires a year, he said.
One cement kiln in the state uses 1 million scrap tires, and there are no civil engineering applications under way, Mr. Blumenthal noted.
A recent RMA state-by-state survey shows Colorado to have more stockpiled tires than any other statean estimated 45 million, including 40 million in El Paso County alone.
The second largest pile contains 5 million tires. There are only 125 million stockpiled tires left in the entire U.S., the RMA said.
Prior to the bill, Colorado diverted 80 percent of the funds collected from the tire fee elsewhere.
The RMA would like to see a greater percentage of the $1.50 fee used for tire management, Mr. Blumenthal said, adding that he will visit with state officials again in May.
Tire Business Senior Washington Reporter Miles Moore contributed to this report.