STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The majority of Republicans voted to pass a bill today that allows scrap tires to be placed into abandoned mines, risking Arizonans’ safety and health.
House Bill 2290, sponsored by Republican Rep. Russ Jones, 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.
“We don’t allow tires in our landfills,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29). “We should not allow tires in our mines. This bill would increase the threat to public safety and health from abandoned mines, and could harm economic markets for recycled tire products.”
Current state law requires materials used to fill mines not be flammable, not decompose, and not leak substances into groundwater. No other states have laws allowing mines to be filled with tires and most prohibit doing so.
"This bill is of concern because it could contaminate water supplies throughout Arizona,” said Rep. Nancy Young Wright, D-Tucson (District 26). “Clearly there is a reason why no other states across the country have done this, and it’s because it’s a public health risk. Other states do in fact specifically prohibit this practice.”
The Rubber Manufacturers Association is in strong opposition to this bill.
“Tires easily can be reused and recycled to create other products like rubberized asphalt, sport tracks and energy,” said Rep. Chris Deschene, D-St. Michaels (District 2). “It makes no sense to fill up old mines with tire resources that cause public safety and health risks.”
Patterson, Young Wright and Deschene are all members of the House Water and Energy Committee.