Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6352

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFICIAL END USES IN CONNECTICUT FOR DISCARDED TIRES AND REQUIRING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TIRE HAULER LICENSE.

Vote Date:

3/1/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/8/2017

File No.:

56

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Sen. Douglas McCrory, 2nd Dist.

Rep. Joseph P. Gresko, 121st Dist.

Rep. Matthew Ritter, 1st Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

The illegal dumping of tires has become a persistent problem in Connecticut, polluting and littering state waterways and forests. Additionally, illegally discarded tires can potentially provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and present a fire hazard to its local surroundings. A used tire recovery program could potentially reduce Connecticut's municipal waste stream and create jobs in Connecticut. The bill will create a program for the management of discarded tires in Connecticut.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE – LCO #4705

Substitute language replaces the bill, to create tire stewardship program for the management of discarded tires in Connecticut, with language that will require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to (1) submit a report on the beneficial end uses of discarded tires, and (2) establish a tire hauler license. Currently, most tires collected in the state is exported and burned in Maine. However, in recent years, Maine has purchased fewer tires for fuel. Additionally, states such as Michigan, Maryland, and Texas have used tire hauler licensing to combat the illegal discarding of tires. Concern was shared, in which any individual could present themselves as a tire hauler, charge a fee to provide such service, and illegally dispose of such tires.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Robert J. Klee, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP): Supports the bill. DEEP supports this bill as an effective way to increase the recovery of discarded tires and create jobs while virtually eliminating the illegal dumping of tires. This bill will create an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for the management of discarded tires in Connecticut. Under this bill, the tire industry would assume responsibility for managing their product by submitting a plan to the department. This plan would outline the process for recovering discarded tires as well as the end markets.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Tommy Alfredo, President, Tri-State Flexi-Pave: A tire stewardship has environmental benefits to prevent the burning or burying of tires. Flexi-Pave, is an alternate method in the use of recycled tires and can be used in roads, sidewalks, and storm run-off areas. Flexi-Pave is permeable and flexible; therefore, it does not settle, allowing water to pass through the material. The company has an installation and distribution facility in Bridgeport's Eco-Technology Park, and is interested in locating a manufacturing facility in Bridgeport to reuse three million or more tires for its product. This facility will create forty jobs over the next two to three years, paying $14 to $30 per hour. A tire stewardship program in Connecticut has environmental, economic and social benefits. Flexi-Pave does not believe merely licensing haulers to be a better solution.

Brian Bartram, Chair, Connecticut Product Stewardship Council: A tire stewardship program will reduce the number of tires that are illegally dumped in our waterways, back roads, and vacant lots. The reduction will reduce the expense of having public works staff retrieve, and then also pay to dispose of illegally discarded tires. Additionally, there are few outlets for discarded tires, resulting in increases of disposal costs.

Luke A. Bronin, Mayor, City of Hartford: Connecticut's only tire processing plant closed in 2013, leaving municipalities with few options for tire disposal, and even fewer local options. In Hartford, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of abandoned tires. The increase in abandoned or illegally dumped tires imposes both financial costs and organizational burdens on the city's Department of Public Works. This bill will encourage private investment by companies seeking to process and repurpose large quantities of tires currently abandoned or dumped illegally.

Alicea Charamut, Lower River Steward, Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC): Volunteers recover on average 700 tires each year during the CRWC's annual river cleanup of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. Extended Producer Responsibility programs outperform state and market-based programs in impact on illegal dumping, private sector job creation, increase in recycling rates, and environmental benefits.

Kathryn Dube, Director of Membership & Legislative Services, Connecticut Council of Small Towns: Municipalities often incur significant costs in assisting residents in disposing of products such as mattresses, paint, tires, and other products. Product stewardship programs have proven successful in encouraging the responsible disposal of various items and assisting towns with the costs associated with collection and disposal.

Donna Hamzy, Advocacy Manager, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities: The Tire Stewardship Program would take the financial and administrative burden of end-of-life disposal for used tires off the back of local governments. Illegal disposal of tires forces municipalities to shoulder the cost of collecting, transporting, and disposing of them. This is a no-cost proposal for the state and could result in significant statewide savings for municipalities.

Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority: Tire disposal costs have risen over the past year, the town of Salisbury reported a 40% increase in their disposal costs. After the closure of the Sterling tire to energy plant, most unwanted tires in the region were sent to mills in Maine. These mills, however, need significantly less product than before.

Martin Mador, Legislative Chair, Sierra Club - Connecticut Chapter: The illegal dumping of tires is not only a bulk waste problem, it is a toxics issue as well. There is no longer a system in place for the reclamation of used tires, the previous fee system has now sunset.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Eric Brown, Senior Counsel, Connecticut Business & Industry Association: This bill places a burden to manufacturers with Connecticut-specific fees and taxes. These fees are ultimately passed along to Connecticut tire customers whom properly recycle their tires through retail tire outlets. “If current laws and municipal ordinances are not sufficiently drafted or enforced to deal with isolated localized waste disposal practices, then those shortcomings should be addressed in a targeted fashion without making Connecticut an even more expensive state for the innocent.”

David Greenstein, Vice President, Lakin Tire East, Inc.: Lakin Tires East has nearly 100 years of scrap tire experience and has been operating in Connecticut since 1979. Virtually all tires removed in Connecticut by tire sellers and local garages are sent to tire recyclable processors. This bill is unnecessary, overly burdensome, and most importantly, fraught with unintended consequences. Such consequences may include: higher tire prices in Connecticut, loss of sales to neighboring states resulting in lower tax revenues, and importation of scrap tires from other states.

Daniel D. Rubino, Counsel, Town Fair Tire Centers, Inc.: Town Fair is the largest independent retail tire dealer in the state. Connecticut currently has a market system for used tire collection, disposal, and recycling that works well. This bill will dismantle the current system, and reverse the progress and advances made in the tire collection and disposal industry. The bill mandates and forces a new, unwieldy, burdensome, costly, and unlimited bureaucracy in place of an established, efficient and proven tire waste management system that currently exists in Connecticut.

Reported by: Steve Smith / Ussawin R. Bumpen

Date: 3/23/2017