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Other Legislation:
tires; abandoned mines

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HB2278
Sponsor: Jones
Legislative Session: 2009 Legislative Session

HB2278 technical correction; state trust lands (Jones) has a strike everything amendment on tires; abandoned mines that will be heard in the Committee of the Whole on Monday.  It allows waste tires to be used to fill abandoned mines.  This is a recycled bad idea from last year that was rejected overwhelmingly.  Last year’s bill was amended to allow the filling of these abandoned mines with inert waste materials, however, which is a much better idea.  While we applaud the efforts to address two important issues, this bill is not the way to do that.


To read a copy of the bill and see a mor detailed status, click on HB2278.

Action Needed

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There are several environmental concerns with filling abandoned mines with tires. 

First of all, tires are flammable and create a fire hazard.  Tire fires produce a lot of smoke and toxic chemicals that are produced when rubber compounds break down via combustion.  Pollutants from tire fires may include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, styrene, phenols, and butadiene, some of which are known carcinogens. Once ignited tire fires are very difficult to extinguish and can burn for months or even years.

Second, and as importantly, tires present a threat to water quality.  Many abandoned mines were abandoned because they filled with water.  Tires leach hazardous substances into the soil and water as well, especially subsequent to burning. 

Third, these mines need to be assessed before being filled.  Abandoned mines provide habitat for bats and other wildlife.  Before filling them, we should do an assessment.  If bats are utilizing the mine, then a bat-friendly gate should be installed rather than filling the mine with materials.

There are more appropriate used for waste tires than putting them in abandoned mines.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we generated approximately 290 million waste tires in the U.S. in 2003.  Of those, 233 million were being recycled in some fashion, including for rubberized asphalt.

Finally, we should be filling these mines with soil and other naturally occurring materials rather than substances that can threaten our air and water.

We don’t allow tires in our landfills.  We should not allow them in these abandoned mines.  They should reject this bad idea and vote no on HB2278.

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