Fuel Smarts

California Approves Amended Copper Bill

August 31, 2010

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The California Assembly has passed SB 346 this week, which restricts the amount of copper in brake friction material sold in the state.

On the heels of negotiations between the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, environmentalists and automakers, California amended the original bill.

Under the change, motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers or retailers of replacement brake friction materials can deplete their inventory of non-compliant materials until Dec. 31, 2023. In addition, the newest version does not include third-party testing requirements, according to MEMA.

"MEMA and its affiliated associations, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), continue to believe that the approach taken earlier this year in Washington State offers a more manageable approach to the removal of copper from brake pads," said Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs, MEMA. "In California, the industry negotiated with all interested parties and believes that SB 346 addresses the key issues of concern to all parties. The unique circumstances faced in the Los Angeles and San Diego watersheds do not exist elsewhere in the United States. The legislation was specifically drafted to address those concerns."

Wilson said the bill provides for time to reformulate brake products while requiring no more than a 5 percent copper content by 2021 and 0.5 percent by 2025. The legislation also provides for an extension process.

The legislation now moves to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for signature.

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