Thursday, August 18, 2022

Lawmakers Intend to Address Used-tire buildup

By on January 10, 2016

SAN JUAN – Sen. Ángel ” Chayanne ” Martínez Santiago and Rep. Ricardo Llerandi Cruz have demanded a concrete action plan by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to deal with the accumulation of discarded tires around the island.

The New Progressive Party (NPP) legislators also announced the presentation of research motions in both the Senate and the House to assess the problem and find a permanent solution.

“We are saying the problem of the accumulation of discarded tires does not end. On the contrary, it is increasing everyday. In fact, the problem is of such magnitude that Puerto Rico is literally being blanketed by used tires. Something has to be done. Now,” said Martínez Santiago, who is the NPP spokesman for the Senate Health Committee.

He added that “if this continues, we may experience an unprecedented health crisis. We are entering the threshold of the rainy season, and these tires become breeding grounds for mosquitos and other insects.”

According to Environmental Quality Board (EQB) figures, approximately 18,000 tires are discarded daily in Puerto Rico.

“In our resolution, we going to ask for an investigation on how many bills are due to haulage contractors – because there have been many who have called us saying they have not been paid – and the amount they are owed. We believe it worthwhile to audit the discarded tires management fund,” the Arecibo district senator said.

The politician urged the companies that transport tires, “and those who used to do it but don’t anymore due to a lack of payment, to communicate with our offices. This situation will be addressed in an expedited manner.”

For Llerandi Cruz, the situation has to be addressed responsibly, establishing term limits for the payment of invoices.

“The board has been procrastinating since 2013. We filed House Resolution 277 with Popular Democratic Party Rep. Jesús Santa to evaluate the situation. At the time, there was great concern over the mountains of discarded tires. However, EQB officials informed us they had no money in the fund to pay the haulers, and that that was not the problem. That the problem consisted of fluctuations in international markets and the high number of tires entering Puerto Rico,” he said.

Llerandi Cruz is the author of House Bill 700, which amends Act 41 of 2009, or the Proper Management of Tires in Puerto Rico Act, to establish maximum term limits for the payment of invoices from processors, exporters, recyclers and facilities that dispose of tires.

“There is currently an administrative term indicating the board will have 45 days to remit payment of submitted invoices. In reality, this does not happen. Our idea is to provide a fixed term of up to 30 days to pay any debt. Any delay in payment of these bills will result in a fee of 2 percent of the debt’s total. It is time we put teeth into this law,” the legislator said.

The measure has stalled in the legislative process since its filing in January 2013.

Meanwhile, according to the final report of House Resolution 277, by 2013 the fund had $12.4 million available and allegedly had no pending payments to contractors.

“There is no reason for the existence of this large accumulation of tires. The only thing I can think is happening is that the government is playing with the fund’s monies. That money is paid when tires are bought and is directed toward a single end, the management of discarded [tires]. It is obvious something is happening,” Martínez Santiago emphasized.

Act 49 of 2009 imposes a charge of $1.65 for each tire for wheels up to 17 inches in diameter. For wheels 17 inches to 24.5 inches, the fee is $7, and for wheels larger than 24.5 inches, it is $25.

The surcharge is directed toward the fund to pay for the transportation of the collected tires.

By Inter News Service

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