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California's Copper Brake Bill Returns to Negotiating Table

June 17, 2010

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California's brake copper bill has moved through the California State Assembly's Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials this week, with plans to return to the negotiating table with the brake manufacturing industry.


As it stands, the bill would require brake manufacturers to cut the amount of copper in pads to 0.5 percent by 2025. A previous version of the bill allowed for a 5 percent limitation in 2021, followed by the 0.5 percent limitation in 2032. While the industry does not have an issue with meeting the 5 percent limitation, the industry is concerned with the 0.5 percent limitation and the effects this will have on performance and safety.

The Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, on behalf of its affiliates, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), has been negotiating with the environmentalist/cities/watershed coalition. However, the environmental community insisted on the 2025 deadline.

Now, the industry is asking for a later date with an "off-ramp" assessment period. Other issues brought up during a hearing on Tuesday included inventory run-off and the treatment of legacy vehicles.

After testifying before the Assembly Tuesday, it looks as though the industry will have the opportunity to negotiate the bill once again.

"Terry Heffelfinger from Affinia and Sarah Olson from Federal Mogul did a magnificent job in representing the industry this week," said Ann Wilson, senior vice president of MEMA government affairs. "Their efforts coupled with the efforts of AASA's Brake Manufacturers Council and HDMA's Heavy Duty Brake Manufacturers Council has helped provide clarity of the issues. We have always maintained that the industry is willing to help the state of California regarding their environmental challenges but the legislature must address the needs of the brake manufacturers, the vehicle manufacturers, and the motoring public."

"This industry is willing to sit down with California at any time and address their environmental challenges," said Tim Kraus, president and chief operating officer of HDMA. "However, any legislation must provide for an 'off-ramp' to balance new federal braking requirements with these other priorities."

To read a previous story on the brake bill, click here.

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