The California/Nevada/Arizona Wholesalers Association (CAWA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) recently said they are actively involved in guiding legislation slated for introduction in early 2009 to limit the use of copper in brake pads.
The legislation is being introduced by California nonprofit organization Sustainable Conservation and collaborative partners including brake manufacturers, environmentalists, storm water management entities, regulators and CAWA’s representatives. It will address recent scientific studies concluding that copper from brake pads is impairing water quality in the state.
In pursuing legislation, Sustainable Conservation’s Brake Pad Partnership has reached out to CAWA and AAIA in an effort to reach a collaborative, consensus-based approach to crafting a workable balance between necessary innovations, long manufacturing timelines, and the stringent water quality compliance deadlines facing California. The Partnership’s deliberations over the course of 2008 have focused on three primary areas: a) the limit to be set on copper in brake pads and the time frame over which that limit will go into effect; b) ensuring that copper-containing formulations are not replaced by those with harmful constituents that cause equal or greater harm: and c) compliance and enforcement of the law once it is in place.
“CAWA recognizes the importance of working with groups like Sustainable Conservation in an effort to find workable solutions to California’s air and water quality challenges while ensuring business and particularly automotive aftermarket business perspectives and interests are considered,” stated Rodney Pierini, president and CEO of CAWA. “It certainly makes more sense to be on the front end as legislation is being considered and drafted rather than in a reactive and often defensive posture once legislation moves through the process.”
Brake pad manufacturers agreed to introduce reformulated products within five years if technical studies being performed indicated that copper in brake pads was contributing significantly to water quality impairment. As the technical studies have been completed and their findings reached, legislation now being drafted will address reductions in copper from all brake pads with limited exceptions. According to the Brake Pad Partnership, this approach will lower the amount of copper in storm water runoff and protect water quality in highly urbanized watersheds.
“Since the details of this legislation have yet to be developed, AAIA and CAWA have a unique opportunity to educate stakeholders on the impact of this effort on the aftermarket and to help guide the development of the legislative language to ensure our concerns are addressed,” stated Aaron Lowe, vice president of Government Affairs, AAIA. “Close involvement in the Brake Pad Coalition also will provide AAIA and CAWA the opportunity to provide timely information to the industry on developments that have the potential to impact both the composition and distribution of aftermarket brake pads,” Lowe added.
CAWA and AAIA’s legislative team recently attended a meeting of the Partnership to provide an in-depth understanding of the parts distribution cycle as well as provide the unique perspective the automotive aftermarket brings to the negotiating table. CAWA and AAIA’s legislative team and members Steve Sharp of WorldPac and Borise Cota of Akebono are serving on the Partnership’s Enforcement and Compliance workgroup, which is charged with developing the legislative language that will address compliance and enforcement issues.
CAWA and AAIA’s goal is to work with the Partnership and brake pad manufacturers to craft legislation that industry, environmental and storm water stakeholders can all support. Between now and the end of the year, the Partnership intends to finalize draft language for the legislation and identify an author to carry the bill. CAWA and AAIA remain at the forefront of these discussions and will provide additional details as events unfold.