USTMA and TRAC executives met in June with representatives of the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association, Japan Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association and Korean Tire Manufacturers Association to discuss sustainability, environmental stewardship, the global environmental picture and the development of a global dialogue framework for continuing discussion of issues of mutual interest.
The recent midterm elections weren't quite the "blue wave" some pundits expected, Ms. Luke said, but it did see the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives and flip seven state governorships.
The industry can expect an "onslaught" of oversight activities from the House, many of them dealing with the Trump administration's rollback of Obama-era environmental laws, as well as Democratic-sponsored initiatives to fix the nation's infrastructure, she said.
The USTMA will support efforts on infrastructure, she said, and work to make the development of markets for rubber-modified asphalt a key part of those efforts.
It is still unclear what the congressional realignment will mean for standing laws such as the Toxic Substances Control Act, which Congress revised in 2016.
"It is difficult to predict what will happen next," she said. "It's a recipe for God knows what."
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump's executive order requiring federal agencies to rescind two regulations for every new one they introduce has proved problematic, Ms. Luke said.
"The executive order does not apply to regulations mandated by statute," she said. "You can't just erase regulations, and for a long time the agencies received no guidance."
In any case, the tire industry continues to strengthen its commitment to environmental stewardship.
The USTMA is close to finalizing its first-ever U.S. tire manufacturing sustainability report, according to Ms. Luke.
The report will cover three main categories—safety, environment and economic impact—which comprise the USTMA's vision statements on sustainability, she said.
The vision statements are:
- Continuing to improve the longevity, rolling efficiency and driving performance of the tires they design, create and sell, and enhancing the health and safety of their employees and customers;
- Improving the environmental footprint of their products and processes; and
- Expanding the economic growth they generate in communities where they operate.
The USTMA expects to release the report sometime in December, Ms. Luke said.
Nearly 90 percent of USTMA members are ISO 14001-certified, meaning they are expert in managing environmental systems. Also, the USTMA continues to be the leader in scrap tire management, she said.
"We have a 30-year record of working with states to develop scrap tire markets, and that will continue," she said.
The USTMA board of directors is also developing a five-year strategic plan to develop scrap tire markets, she said.