Scrap tire under fire

In the endless search for more money in Alabama, one of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s most successful environmental programs is coming under fire.

The Scrap Tire Commission was created in 2003 after a study showed that more than five million scrap tires were produced annually in Alabama, another four to five million scrap tires were being shipped to Alabama annually, and 14 to 20 million scrap tires were either stockpiled or disposed of illegally. A $1 fee is assessed per tire sold in the state to support the program to clean up stockpiles, better enforce scrap tire disposal and cut down on illegal dumps, and create recycling opportunities for the scrap tires. ADEM, on behalf of the Scrap Tire Commission, has removed millions of scrap tires from more than 50 sites throughout the state.

Despite the success, Representative Jim Barton, R-Mobile has singled out the program through legislation he introduced last week that would redirect the $1-per-tire fee from the Scrap Tire Fund to the state’s General Fund. He’s also introduced separate legislation that would redirect at least a portion of a litany of special earmarked funds back into the General Fund. Both bills have been assigned to the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

In other matters, the bill to update the qualifications for members of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission passed the House Commerce and Small Business Committee last week. This bill would expand qualifications for certain posts, clarify qualifications in others, and limit appointees to two six-year terms instead of the current three six-year terms.

The legislature is on spring break this week and will return with 15 meeting days remaining on April 3. We’ll return with our next legislative update the week of April 9.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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