On Friday, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law SB 6557, a bill that will lead to the eventual banning of copper in vehicle brake pads in the state, in an effort to prevent brake dust run-off into the state’s waterways.
Provisions of SB 6557 call for the banning of brake pads containing more than trace amounts of cadmium, chromium, asbestos, lead and mercury in the state of Washington beginning in 2014. The bill will establish a science-based process for a two-step reduction of copper in brake pad linings. Initially, it will limit the use of copper in brakes to a maximum of 5 percent by model year 2021. Additionally, it will establish an advisory committee of industry, safety and environmental experts to assess the feasibility of lowering the mandate to .5 percent in later years.
The final legislation received support from a wide range of stakeholders including the Department of Ecology, environmental community, automakers and brake pad manufacturers. This first-in-the-nation law can now serve as a model for all other states, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.
"Sen. Ranker’s legislation will help protect Washington’s waterways, while allowing automakers to maintain critical vehicle brake safety standards," said Curt Augustine, policy director of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "The auto industry is pleased to support this important initiative.
"This has been a truly unique collaborative process. We want to thank Governor Gregoire, her Administration and the environmental and business groups who helped craft this sensible bill to protect Washington’s waterways and auto passengers," Augustine continued. "We hope to build on this success as we work together on climate change and transportation infrastructure needs of the state."