On the Governor’s Desk | SB 570

On the Governor’s Desk | SB 570

Staff at Texas Heritage Protection are so pleased to announce that two of the bills we advocated for (with your help) have passed out of the State’s House of Representatives and Senate. These two bills, House Bill 1884 and Senate Bill 570, are now sitting on the Governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 570, authored by State Senator José Rodríguez (D- El Paso) and co-authored by a bipartisan group in the Senate, fixes a complicated and outdated scrap tire disposal system that costs taxpayers millions in inefficient legal and regulatory expenses. The Governor has until June 18th to sign it into law.

To briefly summarize, Texas leads the nation in the most unauthorized scrap tire piles of any state. More than 36 million tires are discarded each year in Texas; that’s roughly one-and-a-half tires for every person residing in the state. If not transported and disposed of properly, these tires can lead to dangerous outcomes including costly, environmentally hazardous tire piles and increased fire, pollution, and public health and safety risks, such as increases in vector-borne illnesses like Zika, West Nile, and dengue fever in addition to the millions spent on cleanup fees and legal expenses.

We believe this bills will help reduce some of Texas’s scrap tire backlog and keep it from growing at its current rate. This bill requires used tire dealerships and shops to keep unusable tires under lock and key – in order to prevent thefts and subsequent illegal dumping. It tightens documentation and tracking requirements for entities included in disposal process, beginning with a customer dropping off an unusable tire to that tire’s final resting place in a landfill or in its second recycled-life.

The bill’s new documentation and tracking requirements are of particular importance because they change the former paper-only tracking system to an electronic tracking system – a small update that will make a world of difference efficiency-wise for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state agency in charge of this process.

Additionally, the bill also increases penalties and the liability for entities who violate the proper disposal chain, which will hopefully deter bad actors.

While not a perfect solution, we believe SB 570 will go a long way to helping the problem of illegal dumping in Texas. Unfortunately, this bill continued to leave disposal fees unaddressed (the $2 or so tire disposal fee you currently pay does not go to the state and is not monitored to ensure it goes towards disposal).

We will continue to advocate and track this issue to make sure this problem get solved efficiently and effectively, but we want to that all of our members for their support and help with this issue.