A wrong-track bill that passed the House Wednesday will fill abandoned mines with old waste tires and will risk southern Arizona's public safety and health.
House Bill 2290, sponsored by Rep. Russ Jones, R-Yuma, poses risks of tire fires, where heavy soot and oil is released into the ground, contaminating vital water supplies and creating a public health risk.
Current law already dictates that materials used to seal mines cannot present a danger to Arizona's water standard, and using waste tires could do just that. No other states have laws allowing mines to be filled with tires, and most prohibit doing so.
The bill stipulates that after the mine has been filled with tires, at least 10 feet of earth must cover the tires. But this could possibly contaminate Arizona's already limited water supply. The decomposition of these tires could emit potentially harmful chemicals into the water that is vital to Arizona's residents.