EPA Proposal is Anti-Environment, Anti-Business and Anti-Common Sense

Action Will Increase Stockpiled Scrap Tires, Risk to Public Health and Safety

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.August 5, 2010 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a rule that would significantly harm the existing infrastructure that manages scrap tires as well as reverse two decades of environmental cleanup success, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

After decades of EPA-sanctioned use as a supplemental industrial fuel, EPA is proposing now to declare whole scrap tires a solid waste. The new designation would require facilities using whole tire-derived fuel (TDF) to add costly new emission controls that would not be required to burn traditional, less efficient fuels. Instead of this option, many TDF users, likely will opt to stop using TDF in favor of more costly, less efficient and higher emitting traditional fossil fuels, including coal. This will likely result in a dramatic reduction of TDF use while driving tens of millions of scrap tires back to landfills, stockpiles and illegal dumping sites.

At the same time, EPA will still allow the use of processed scrap tires to be used as fuel only if most of the steel content is removed, which would add costs to TDF use for facilities such as cement kilns, and increase the amount of energy needed and air pollutants emitted to supply TDF to these facilities. Steel content in tires does not affect overall emissions when consumed as TDF. Instead, the steel is used as a raw material in the manufacture of cement.

“EPA’s proposed regulatory scheme would devastate the tire-derived fuel market in the U.S. which will ripple across the entire scrap tire market infrastructure,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA senior vice president. “Worse, the proposal will drive scrap tires back to stockpiles and illegal tire dumps after two decades of success in cleaning up stockpiles and promoting safe, viable, effective markets for scrap tires.”

Scrap tire management is an environmental success story in the U.S. In 1990, more than one billion tires were stockpiled across the country while only 11 percent of annually generated scrap tires were reused. Today, fewer than 100 million tires remain stockpiled and nearly 90 percent of annually generated scrap tires are reused. Each year, about 300 million scrap tires are generated in the U.S. Of those, about 52 percent are used as TDF in the cement industry, pulp and paper mills and by some utility and industrial boilers.

In comments filed today, RMA said that EPA does not have the legal authority to declare TDF as a “solid waste” instead of a fuel. TDF has a long history as a fuel, which is recognized by EPA. The agency’s own data indicates that the combustion of TDF, whether whole or minimally processed without removal of metal beads, not only provides better fuel value than coal (12,000 – 16,000 Btu/lb) but also results in comparable or even lower emissions than coal combustion.

“EPA’s proposal turns common sense on its head and would harm the environment while causing potentially thousands of jobs to be lost in the scrap tire industry,” Norberg said.

More tire stockpiles increases the risk of fire and mosquito infestation. Unlike the controlled, extreme heat combustion when TDF is used as a fuel, a burning pile of scrap tires can cause considerable environmental harm. Such fires can burn for days or weeks. Stockpiled tires also collect rainwater which then becomes an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry diseases.

RMA advocated that EPA should consider TDF an historical fuel, regardless of whether the scrap tires have been discarded, which would allow states to continue to regulate those scrap tires not used as TDF under state waste management regulations. Alternatively, RMA indicated it supported an approach initially outlined by EPA in January 2009 that would have allowed annually generated scrap tires to be continue to be used as a fuel but stockpiled scrap tires would be considered “discarded” and therefore be a solid waste subject to new emission controls if combusted.

“EPA should reconsider this deeply flawed, anti-environment, anti-business and anti-common sense proposal,” Norberg said.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

House Committee Approves Measure That Threatens Manufacturers’ Proprietary Business Information

Increased Disclosure of Early Warning Information May Harm Tire Makers in U.S

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 28, 2010 – A House committee approved legislation this week that requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make public more information that is reported to the agency by automobile, tire and automotive parts manufacturers.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) voiced a number of concerns with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, HR 5381. The group has voiced similar concerns with a companion measure in the Senate, S 3302.

“RMA strongly supports and our members fully comply with the current early warning reporting system to provide federal safety regulators with information to help enhance motorist safety,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “However, RMA and its members are very concerned that this bill may result in NHTSA disclosing critical business information that will cause competitive harm to manufacturers in the U.S.”

A 2000 federal law mandated NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting System. Automotive industry manufacturers are required to report substantial amounts of production and performance data and consumer claims to the agency to assist federal safety officials with identifying potential safety issues. Consumer claims regarding fatalities, injuries and property damage claims are currently made public on NHTSA’s web site.

When NHTSA created the Early Warning Reporting System, it also created categories of information that would be protected from public disclosure as confidential business information. For tire manufacturers, this included production data, warranty claims and common green tires, which are tires that have not been cured.

“NHTSA conducted a rigorous process using strict Freedom of Information Act principles to develop a federal regulation that balanced public disclose of some early warning information with the need to protect some critical business data it receives each quarter from manufacturers,” Cannon said.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act also includes a mandate requiring a brake override system in vehicles to help prevent the possibility of sudden unintended acceleration. Additionally, the measure gives NHTSA the authority to declare that a vehicle, tire or automotive part presents an “imminent hazard” to motorist safety. Such a declaration would allow the agency to impose a range of remedies to force manufacturers to address a potential safety issue.

The bill also boosts federal penalties on manufacturers for safety-related issues to a maximum of $200 million. The House version would allow individuals to sue the agency if they disagree with an agency determination in answering a petition to investigate a possible vehicle defect.

“Permitting lawsuits to overturn NHTSA’s thorough investigation of potential safety issues would force the agency to divert critical resources to redundant tasks and legal defenses to answer likely lawsuit challenges to defect petition decisions,” Cannon said.

The House bill is expected to go to the House floor in the coming weeks. A Senate committee is expected to consider its version of the bill in early June.

“We will continue to engage with legislators and work toward a reasonable solution that enhances motorist safety while addressing the risk to RMA members’ competitive business information posed by this bill,” Cannon said.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

RMA Says Proposed Federal Ozone Rule is “Inappropriate”

 EPA “Short Circuiting” Regulatory Process; Will Add Huge Costs, Little Benefit

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.April 19, 2010 – A new proposed federal regulation aimed at reducing ozone short circuits the regulatory process, adds as much as $90 billion in costs to businesses and has an adverse effect on air quality, according to comments filed by the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Under the federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to evaluate National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground level ozone. In 2008, President Bush’s Administration issued new ozone standards. Eighteen months later, the Obama Administration decided to reconsider the new standards.

“EPA’s decision to revise the NAAQS for ground level ozone short cuts the process for revising the NAAQS established in the CAA (Clean Air Act) and in the process the [EPA] Administrator is not relying on the “latest scientific knowledge” regarding the public health and welfare as the statute requires,” RMA wrote. “The Clean Air Act establishes a clear process for reviewing and revising NAAQS over a five-year period. EPA’s proposed revised ozone NAAQS bypass that statutorily mandated process.”

RMA also said that the health science evidence does not demonstrate that a new standard is justified. “In simple terms, EPA is proposing to reduce the primary ozone NAAQS based largely on clinical studies showing respiratory effects—but no apparent health effects—in sensitive individuals at 0.060 ppm (parts per million), and on epidemiology studies that EPA believes suggest there may be effects of exposure to ozone concentrations below 0.075 ppm,” RMA said in its comments. “The clinical studies, however, did not demonstrate a clear adverse health effect from exposure to ozone concentrations below 0.075 ppm, even in the harsh conditions of the clinical tests.

“Furthermore, these same clinical studies were reviewed as part of the 2008 Ozone NAAQS final rule and did not justify a lower standard at that time. It is inappropriate for EPA to now use this dated information to justify lowering the 2008 ground level ozone standard.”

Worse, EPA’s decision to revise the 2008 ozone standards will result in less improvement to ground level ozone concentrations and increased burdens on state and local agencies.

“EPA’s decision to revise the 2008 ozone standards to a more stringent limit of 0.060 – 0.070 ppm will, under the circumstances, impede rather than improve human health protection measures,” RMA said.

EPA’s rulemaking schedule would have a final rule by August 31, 2010; final designations by August 2011 and; state implementation plans for the reconsidered standards by December 2013.

“This abbreviated schedule is unrealistic, in RMA’s view, in light of experience and especially for the completely new form of the secondary standard,” RMA said. “And in any event, litigation over the proposed revisions could further delay implementation of the revised NAAQS standards. The effect of delaying implementation will result in less improvement in ground level ozone concentrations because states will continue to implement the 1997 8-hour standard of 0.08 (effectively 0.084) ppm rather than the 2008 8-hour standard of 0.0750 ppm.”

For the tire industry, the effect of this revised standard will be extremely burdensome.
RMA member facilities are predominantly located in rural areas that are currently designated as attainment areas. An attainment area is one that has “attained” an ozone level that complies with federal regulations. A “non-attainment area” is one that exceeds federal regulations for ozone.

Under the EPA proposed revision, many RMA member facilities will be in non-attainment areas. Facilities located in a non-attainment area face increased operating costs, permitting delays, and restrictions on expansions. Additionally, facilities located in counties that are designated as “severe” or “extreme” non-attainment face significant penalty fees under the Clean Air Act. An increase in the number of non-attainment areas as a result of the proposed rule will significantly impact states and counties that must find the resources to comply with the additional burdens of being in non-attainment.

The costs for a revised ozone rule are estimated to be significant while the benefits are limited. EPA estimates that revising the primary standard to a level at or near 0.060 ppm would produce annual benefits of $35-100 billion in 2020. Annual costs, however, are projected to be $52-90 billion.

“In other words, even using EPA’s optimistic assumptions about attainment status, costs, and benefits, there is a good chance that the costs of meeting the revised NAAQS would exceed the benefits by billions of dollars,” RMA said. “If EPA lowers the primary ozone NAAQS to a level at or near 0.070 ppm, EPA projects annual benefits of $13-37 billion and annual costs of $19-25 billion. Again, even with EPA’s dubious assumptions it is entirely possible that the costs would exceed any benefits.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

Colorado Senate Committee Approves Scrap Tire Measure

 Bill Directs More Resources to Cleanup, Enforcement and Market Development

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.April 15, 2010 – A Colorado Senate Committee approved comprehensive legislation this week to reform the state’s scrap tire laws. More than 60 million stockpiled scrap tires are in Colorado — one of the few states where piles are growing.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association, representing tire manufacturers in the U.S., has been working to change Colorado’s scrap tire law since the last changes were made to the program several years ago. RMA testified in favor of the legislation this week.

HB 1018, which passed the House in March, was unanimously approved by the Colorado Senate Transportation Committee. The measure will next be considered by the Senate Finance Committee.

“HB 1018 is the result of eight months of negotiation among all major scrap tire stakeholders in Colorado,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president, who testified in support of HB 1018. “If enacted, Colorado will be able to address some of the gaps in their program, while focusing on market development and continued stockpile abatement.”

Colorado currently imposes a $1.50 fee on new tires that should be used for enforcement of state scrap tire regulations, cleanup of waste tire piles and market development.

“Unfortunately, Colorado has not effectively managed scrap tires,” Blumenthal said. “The state has the greatest number of tires in stockpiles in the nation and unless the system is changed, those piles will continue to grow.”

HB 1018 would:

  • Place more of the scrap tire funds directly into scrap tire activities.
  • Consolidates all waste tire programs under the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and establishes new requirements for scrap tire market development, fire planning and prevention, waste tire hauler regulations, and waste tire facility regulations.
  • Creates regulations that will benefit the state and the scrap tire industry, closes gaps in the regulation that will decrease the incidence of unlawful dumping of tires.
  • Creates an advisory committee that can provide on going review and evaluation of the program that will increase the likelihood of constant improvement to the program.

“We will continue to press Colorado lawmakers to enact this legislation,” Blumenthal said. “The measure is long overdue and urgently needed. We are grateful to the House and Senate sponsors of this legislation and will work with them to see this bill enacted.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

RMA Says New EPA Report Again Demonstrates Tire Rubber As Environmentally Sound

No Adverse Human, Ecological Health Effects

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 10, 2009 – A study released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found no cause for human health or environmental concerns with the use of tire rubber used in construction of athletic fields and playgrounds.

While the EPA study was limited in its scope, it adds to a growing list of scientific data showing that ground rubber from waste tires does not pose any adverse health or ecological risks.

“Today’s report by EPA is not a surprise,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president. “Many studies and tests have shown over many years that the use of recycled tire rubber in consumer applications such as playground and athletic fields are not only safe by have several significant safety benefits.”

Last year, RMA sponsored a review of available literature on the potential health and environmental effects of tire rubber, which is produced from scrap tires.

The RMA-sponsored report evaluated the health and ecological risks associated with the use of recycled tire rubber in consumer applications, particularly playgrounds and athletic fields. A thorough review of available literature was conducted including studies from both advocates and opponents to the use of recycled tire materials. An examination of the weight of evidence across all of the available studies was conducted to enable a comprehensive assessment of potential risk.

The use of recycled tire rubber is widely used as an infill material for synthetic sports fields and as a floor cover for playgrounds. Both applications take advantage of the exceptional cushioning characteristics of tire rubber and provide increased safety relative to other materials. Athletic fields and playground cover are two of the fastest growing and largest end uses for recycled ground tire rubber. Approximately 13 million scrap tires are used in these applications annually.

“Although EPA stated that hope to conduct further review of available scientific literature, we remain confident that any additional research will show that playgrounds and athletic fields and other consumer products made from tire rubber are environmentally sound,” Blumenthal said.

RMA’s report, Review of the Human Health & Ecological Safety of Exposure to Recycled Tire Rubber found at Playgrounds and Synthetic Turf Fields, is available for download at www.rma.orgClick here to review the report (updated 2013).

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

Tire Makers Propose Tire Fuel Efficiency Rating System

Five Category System Would Maximize Tire Choices for ConsumersRMA Comments submitted to NHTSA

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.August 24, 2009 – Tire manufacturers are proposing a tire fuel efficiency rating system that is more likely to assist motorists to choose fuel efficient replacement tires than a system proposed by federal regulators.

In written comments to a proposed tire fuel efficiency consumer information regulation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Rubber Manufacturers Association said its members believe that to establish effective consumer information requirements regarding tire efficiency, the program must meet the following:

• Provide information at point of sale;
• Provide meaningful information that is easy to understand by consumers;
• Provide a wide range of tire efficiency choices across the rating scale to each consumer about replacement tire choices appropriate for the consumer’s existing vehicle;
• Be cost effective to minimize the cost effect of this information to consumers.

RMA supports a five category rating system that maximizes the tire efficiency choices across the rating scale for available to each consumer.

“Since consumers shopping for replacement tires are limited in their tire selections by requirements of their existing vehicle, it is important to design a rating system that maximizes the tire efficiency choices across the rating scale for each consumer. The appeal of a rating system will depend on whether a consumer has “good” choices appropriate for his vehicle across the rating scale,” RMA wrote.

In June, NHTSA proposed a tire fuel efficiency rating system that would be printed on a paper label on every replacement passenger tire sold in the U.S. The rating system would rank tire fuel efficiency on a 0-100 point scale. The proposed rule also would rate wet traction capability and tread wear. The regulation was required by energy legislation enacted by Congress in 2007. RMA advocated in favor of the provision to create a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program.

RMA said that NHTSA’s proposed rating approach would not provide consumers with useful information about fuel efficiency of replacement tires suitable for their vehicles. Under the NHTSA proposal, a typical consumer shopping for a replacement tire for a specific vehicle would have a choice only along approximately a 20 to 30 point spread on the 100 point scale.

“The proposed rating scale gives consumers an illusory view of the tire efficiency choices available to them for their vehicle and does not assist consumers in purchasing fuel efficient tires for their vehicle,” RMA wrote. “On the other hand, this rating approach encourages consumers to purchase smaller tires and could promote the purchase of tires with inadequate load-carrying capacity to safely carry the load of the vehicle. Although many tire dealers would discourage and in many cases would not sell a tire with a rated load capacity insufficient for the vehicle, NHTSA should not promote a system that could lead to this type of safety concern.”

RMA said that NHTSA should develop a system that promotes tire efficiency, regardless of vehicle class.

“Unfortunately, since the proposed system would not favorably rate any tires suitable for larger vehicles, it would send the message to owners of these vehicles that they have no fuel efficient tire choices, so they should not base tire purchasing decisions on this information,” RMA wrote.

RMA also expressed opposition to the propose tire rating system label as a means of providing point of sale information to consumers.

“RMA proposes that NHTSA mandate that tire retailers have the rating information available to consumers in the dealer showroom or waiting area. RMA recommends that NHTSA give tire retailers options for making this information available and require that each retailer choose one or more options that suits their business model and needs. Options could include: tire manufacturer brochures, tire manufacturer product catalogues, in-store online access to the NHTSA website, tire manufacturer websites or the tire retailer’s website containing the rating information,” RMA stated.

RMA estimates that initial costs for manufacturer testing and reporting would range from $14,657,250 to $53,157,440, while annual costs range from $12,280,322 to $34,745,722. Initial costs for the proposed tire labeling requirements would range from $21,921,745 to $30,641,745, while the annual cost estimates range from $11,543,764 to $16,782,340. RMA said in its comments that NHTSA underestimated industry costs.

“The tire industry has long supported the concept of providing information to consumers about its products at point of sale and welcomes the opportunity to begin providing consumer information about a tire’s contribution to vehicle fuel economy,” RMA said.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

More Old Tires Put to New Uses; Scrap Tire Piles Receding

Industry Report Shows Continued Environmental Progress

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

Washington, DCJune 22, 2009 – Think those old tires you replaced get tossed into some landfill? Think again. Nearly 90 percent of tires that are replaced and thrown away every year are put to a new productive use. The reuse rate of scrap tires tops most recovered waste materials including glass bottles, paper and aluminum cans.

The ninth report on scrap tire markets issued by the Rubber Manufacturers Association since 1994 shows continued progress in scrap tire management practices across the nation resulting in significant reduction of scrap tire stockpiles and continued progress in putting waste tires to new uses.

“Scrap tire management in the U.S. is a huge environmental success story,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president. “Markets for scrap tires are growing and old piles of scrap tires are shrinking.”

In 2007, 89.3% percent of the scrap tires generated in the U.S. by weight were consumed in end-use markets. The total volume of scrap tires consumed in end-use markets in the U.S. reached approximately 4105.8 thousand tons of tires – the largest amount ever since RMA began tabulating scrap tire statistics.
RMA estimates that about 4595.7 thousand tons of tires were generated in the U.S. in 2007. By comparison, in 2005, about 82 percent of tires were consumed by weight. In 1990, only eleven percent of tires were consumed on a per tire basis.

The percentage of scrap tires consumed by markets increased 13.5 percent, while the volume of tires utilized increased by about 489.7 thousand tons. The market percentage is affected not only by the volume of scrap tires consumed but also by the volume of scrap tires generated. The scrap tire generation rate has steadily increased along with the population in the United States, which tempers the increase in market percentage. This has been a consistent trend since RMA began to chronicle scrap tire markets in 1990.

Scrap tires were consumed by a variety of scrap tire markets, including tire-derived fuel, civil engineering and ground rubber applications. Other smaller markets and legal landfilling consume the remaining annually-generated tires, which indicates that new stockpile production should be negligible.

Key Scrap Tire Markets:

Tire-Derived Fuel (TDF) — Scrap tires are used as a cleaner and more economical alternative to coal as fuel in cement kilns, pulp and paper mills and industrial and utility boilers. TDF accounted for about 2484.4 thousand tons of scrap tires in the U.S. in 2007, or about 54 percent of the total scrap tires generated. Due to increasing fuel prices and improvements in the quality and reliable delivery of TDF, this market is anticipated to experience strong demand for the next two years

Ground Rubber — This market consumed 789.1 thousand tons of scrap tires, or about 17 percent of the volume of scrap tires generated. Ground rubber applications include new rubber products, playground and other sports surfacing and rubber-modified asphalt. The sports surfacing market remained the most dynamic segment in the ground rubber market during this period. The ground rubber market is expected to experience modest growth in the next two years.

Civil Engineering – This market consumed 561.6 thousand tons of tires in 2007, about 12 percent of the total tires to market and consisted of tire shreds used in road and landfill construction, septic tank leach fields and other construction applications. Tires add beneficial properties in these applications, such as vibration and sound control, lightweight fill to prevent erosion and landslides and facilitate drainage in leachate systems. This market experienced a continued decrease since from its peak in 2003, due to competition from TDF markets.
At the end of 2007, about 128 million scrap tires remained in stockpiles in the United States, a reduction of over 87 percent since 1990.

“The success of cleaning scrap tires is due to state efforts to abate stockpiled tires, develop sustainable scrap tire markets and enforce existing scrap tire laws and regulations,” Blumenthal said.

The remaining stockpiles are concentrated in seven states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Texas. These states contain over 85 percent of the scrap tires remaining in stockpiles. Of these states, Alabama, Michigan and New York have ongoing abatement programs. Texas completed an abatement effort in 2007. RMA continues to work with legislators and regulators in these states to develop and implement effective scrap tire programs to address these stockpiles.

The RMA publication, “Scrap Tire Markets in the U.S.; 9th Biennial Report,” is available free for download at www.rma.org.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 80 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

CALIFORNIA TIRE MEASURE IS A LAWSUIT MAGNET

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

RMA Says Bill is Inconsistent, Contradictory, Fear-Mongering

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 28, 2009 – The Rubber Manufacturers Association today criticized a California Assembly bill as “inconsistent”, “contradictory,” and “fear-mongering” that would only serve to increase lawsuit opportunities for the bill’s primary supporters – trial lawyers.

The Assembly passed the measure today by a vote of 41-28.

AB 496 would selectively require consumer notification about a tire’s chronological age on some sellers of replacement tires, primarily tire dealers. Supporters of the measure claim that tires reaching a certain age are a potential safety hazard and say the notification is necessary to prevent older tires from being placed into service.

However, supporters’ alleged concern with motorist safety is contradicted by provisions in the bill that would exempt millions of tires from the bill’s age notification.

“Proponents of this bill use fear-mongering to allege that tires reaching a certain chronological age are dangerous,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. “But the bill is inconsistent in its application. Any consumer who buys tires or a vehicle in a private transaction, or who buys a new or used vehicle from a dealer or who buys replacement tires from an auto dealer would not receive a notification under this proposal. These exemptions make the measure contradictory on its face and are implicit acknowledgement that chronological tire age alone is not a hazard.”

RMA also says that the measure’s notification provisions are confusing and likely to result in second-guessing by trial lawyers.

“Providing a simple, understandable notification to consumers about a tire’s date of manufacture is reasonable,” Zielinski said. “But the bill provides several options that would likely lead to trial lawyers’ accusations that a dealer didn’t provide the most appropriate notification. This would force nearly all notifications to be given prior to the point of sale which will result in needless service delays.”

In an earlier letter of opposition to AB 496 author, Assembly Member Mike Davis, RMA noted that a prior-to-sale notification would be impractical and burdensome.

Although several auto and tire manufacturers have issued recommendations for tire replacement after a number of years, none are derived from technical data that suggests a tire would not perform after such time.

Allegations that there is a correlation between tire performance and chronological tire age are unfounded and unsupported by data. No auto industry, tire industry or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data has determined that a tire cannot perform when it reaches a particular chronological age.

Information provided by RMA to NHTSA shows that chronological tire age is not a factor in tire performance. An RMA study of 14,000 scrap tires did not reveal any indication that tires are removed from service once they reach a certain chronological age. A second comprehensive study of all claims made by consumers to tire manufacturers over a six-year period showed that the rate of claims as a function of the chronological age of tires actually decreases after six years.

“AB 496 would only benefit trial lawyers by creating a new roadmap to sue California tire dealers,” Zielinski said. “The measure makes inaccurate statements about tire performance and imposes new burdens on tire retailers in a particularly unfortunate economic climate.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

RMA Urges Ohio to Enact Primary Seat Belt Law

Letter to Ohio Senate

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 11, 2009 – The Rubber Manufacturers Association is urging Ohio lawmakers to enact legislation to improve motorist seat belt use.

A measure to allow police to pull over motorists only for failing to buckle up passed the Ohio House last week. The measure is expected to face opposition in the Senate.

In a letter to Ohio state senators, RMA President and CEO Charles A. Cannon noted the tire and rubber manufacturing industry’s long history in Ohio as well as the industry’s strong commitment to safety.

“Manufacturing the only automotive product that touches the road means safety is the single highest priority for tire makers,” Cannon wrote. “Automotive and tire research and innovation have made vehicles and vehicle components increasingly safe over the last several decades.

“Unfortunately, not even these fundamental technological leaps can always protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. While technologically simpler than many of today’s vehicle components, the seatbelt remains our nation’s most formidable weapon against motor vehicle fatalities and injuries.”

Using lap/shoulder belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent. States that have enacted primary seat belt enforcement have a 10-15 percent higher use rate compared to states with only secondary enforcement.

Ohio Senate hearings are scheduled today and tomorrow on HB 2, legislation that includes the primary seat belt enforcement provision. A broad coalition including automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, health care organizations, national and local safety organizations, supports the provision.

“The annual loss of 42,000 lives on U.S. highways is a national tragedy,” Cannon said. “Although it is a simple task, too many Americans continue to drive or ride in vehicles at great personal risk by not wearing a seatbelt. Increasing the ability of law enforcement to ticket seat belt avoidance will help improve Ohio’s seat belt compliance. Doing this will prevent the loss of life as well as the accompanying suffering of loved ones who bear the scars of bereavement over the often unnecessary loss of family or friends.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

Proposed State Tire Fee Hike Won’t Clean Up Scrap Tires

45 Million Scrap Tires Litter Centennial State – Worst In Nation

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 5, 2009 – Buying a set of four tires will cost Colorado consumers an additional $13 if lawmakers approve a proposed increase in the state tire fee to $3.25 per tire.

State tire fees are typically used to pay for the cleanup of discarded tires and creation of markets for scrap tires. Unfortunately, Colorado diverts 80 percent of the current tire fee to other purposes and has not been active in either stockpile abatement or developing markets for the 4.5 million scrap tires the State generates each year.

A state-by-state survey of scrap tire management progress conducted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) shows Colorado has the most stockpiled tires of any state with 45 million tires, creating a health, safety, fire and environmental hazard.

“Colorado’s pro-environment reputation is challenged by the state’s abysmal record in managing waste tires,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president.

If the $1.75 per-tire fee hike is enacted, Colorado consumers will pay the state $13 for every set of four tires purchased. The total take for the state will amount to more than $14 million annually but none of those funds would be used to clean up the largest scrap tire pile in the U.S. – some 40 million tires in El Paso County.

Last week, the Colorado Senate approved SB09-31 18-15 to raise the state tire fee by $1.75 and use the funds for economic development. The House may address the measure shortly.

Nationwide, states have been vigorously cleaning up stockpiled waste tires and working to foster the creation of productive markets that reuse tires. In 1990, more than one billion tires were stockpiled nationwide and only 11 percent of scrap tires were reused.

Today, about 125 million tires remain stockpiled and more than 85 percent of annually generated scrap tires are reused. Colorado is home to more than one third of all the stockpiled scrap tires in the country.

The tire industry, led by RMA, has been working for nearly two decades to promote market-based solutions to using scrap tires and reasonable regulations to clean up piles of scrap tires. RMA supports fees on new tires to fund scrap tire management goals. The group opposes efforts to use such revenue for non-scrap tire purposes.

“It makes sense to impose fees on tires if the funds are used to address scrap tire issues,” Blumenthal said. “But when these revenues are hijacked for other purposes, a state may suffer far worse environmental consequences and cleanup costs if a major tire stockpile catches fire. In too many states, this failure to act has caused significant environmental harm and cost the state tens of millions of dollars in clean up costs.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.