An Oregon bill that would have required the elimination of copper in motor vehicle brakes won't go any further this session.

Oregon Senate Bill 945 failed to meet the May 24 deadline to be heard in the Oregon House and will not be considered further during this legislative session.

Tthe Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and its affiliate groups, including the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association and the HDMA Heavy Duty Brake Manufacturers Council, had opposed the measure, saying the industry will be implementing reductions in copper content following the passage of similar bills in Washington State and California in 2010.

"The brake industry has agreed to massive changes in formulations and content to meet the concerns of states and the environmental community," said Steve Handschuh, AASA's president and chief operating officer. "The Oregon legislation would have created redundant paperwork requirements at a time when the industry must focus all of its efforts toward reducing copper content while providing the motoring public with safe and reliable brakes."

"Brake suppliers in the U.S. commercial vehicle industry are pleased with the outcome of this issue in Oregon and further movement toward a recognized and accepted set of standards and goals for friction materials in light and HD vehicle brakes," said Tim Kraus, HDMA's president and chief operating officer. "Work can move forward with formulations of new, copper-free brake materials and on the process of testing and validation of the new products required for both commercial vehicle safety and recently enacted laws in other states."

In March 2010, Washington became the first state to pass legislation in an effort to protect its waterways from the runoff of toxic copper brake dust. California's bill became law in September 2010. Similar legislation is underway in Rhode Island and New York. The bills have been prompted by concerns that the the copper in brake dust that comes off of brake linings as they are used washes into the water system and can harm aquatic life.

The California law mandates that brakes contain no more than five percent copper beginning in 2021. By 2025, the limit will be reduced to 0.5 percent. Washington's law is similar, with a five percent limit by 2021, and the establishment of an advisory committee to assess the feasibility of lowering the limit to 0.5 percent in subsequent years.

One company that praised these actions was Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. Bendix says its full line of branded foundation drum brakes -- available on a full range of OE models -- currently meets the new state mandates.