WASHINGTON, D.C. — On behalf of a coalition of three American Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest, the non-profit Earthjustice has filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding an immediate ban on the manufacture and sale of tires containing 6ppd, an antidegradant chemical used to prevent cracking and splitting of tires during tire wear.
The 17-page petition, filed Aug. 1 on behalf of the Puyallup (Tacoma, Wash.), Yurok (Northern California) and Port Gamble S'Klallam (Kitsap Peninsula, Wash.) Tribes, states that water contamination in the rivers, streams and soil of the expansive region is "imperiling salmon recovery" and may present a danger to the members of the tribes themselves.
"To see 6ppd-quinone kill the salmon that are reared in the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe's own streams and from its own hatchery is an unconscionable slap in the face to a people who rely on salmon for their well-being," said Josh Carter, Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe's environmental scientist.
Carter said this is "in addition to being a gross violation of the tribe's rights as enshrined in the 1855 Treaty of Point No Point," a treaty on which the federally recognized Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe is an original signatory.
"If EPA truly cares about protecting the environment and the tribe's treaty rights, not just industry's pocketbooks, it will act now," he said.
The petition asks that regulations be established "prohibiting the manufacturing, processing, use and distribution of 6ppd in and for tires" and cites the EPA's own Toxic Substances Control Act as a regulatory threshold.
TSCA mandates that the EPA ban or regulate "chemicals in commerce that pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment" and gives the agency authority to order phaseouts of existing chemicals on the "fastest practicable timeline."
The regulations the tribes are seeking essentially would require tire companies to offer tires that are free from 6ppd—a similar outcome also being sought by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.