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Public awareness, heightened enforcement will highlight campaign to protect indigenous lands from illegal tire dumping
Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Tuscarora Nation announced a partnership aimed at combatting illegal tire dumping on sovereign Nation lands.
A press release noted, “Documented recurrences of tires and other waste dumped illegally on Tuscarora Nation lands spurred action to prevent ongoing illegal behavior, and prompted this joint federal, state and Nation government-to-government partnership that will help protect the public health and natural resources.”
Rene Rickard-Printup, the Tuscarora Nation’s environment director for the Haudenosaunee environmental task force, said, “The partnership between the Tuscarora Nation, EPA and DEC is considerable progress in the right direction as we collectively move toward the goal of protecting our land and the health of our community. For many years, illegal dumping activities have been a burden on the Tuscarora Nation, but now we have the support of EPA and DEC to address this issue with businesses and individuals outside our Nation. We are grateful to the EPA for providing some financial support to curb the amount of roadside dumping through barriers to stop illegal dumping, signs to prevent illegal dumping, and cameras to catch illegal dumping. We are also grateful for the support of DEC. Businesses and individuals need to know that, while the Tuscarora Nation is a sovereign, the Nation can and will authorize DEC to take legal action against illegal dumping on the Nation territory.”
EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said, "Illegal tire dumping is a violation of the law and a threat to public health. Together, EPA, DEC and the Tuscarora Nation will increase enforcement on these sovereign lands to the fullest extent of the law and educate the public on the importance of proper tire disposal, safeguarding public health and the environment."
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Illegal tire dumping is hazardous to the environment because waste tires can leach toxins into land and water, threaten public health by creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests, and are aesthetically displeasing. Dumping tires on the sovereign lands of Indigenous peoples, already disproportionally affected by environmental pollution, is particularly disturbing. DEC law enforcement officers are strictly enforcing illegal tire dumping – including on Nation land where authorized to enter – and violators will be held accountable to full extent of the law to ensure public health and the environment are protected.”
The Tuscarora Reservation is located in Niagara County, approximately 10 minutes outside of Niagara Falls and 20 minutes from Buffalo, and is home to more than 1,000 Tuscarora Nation citizens and their Iroquois relatives and guests. The Tuscarora Nation is neighbor to several Western New York communities and, through the Tuscarora environment program, works to ensure the territory is free from contamination from off-site sources, in accordance with their own laws and traditions.
This Nation-federal-state partnership includes increased enforcement by DEC environmental conservation police officers of illegal tire dumping, in addition to a public outreach and education campaign aimed at waste tire generators, including area automotive repair facilities, to reinforce the importance of properly disposing of waste tires and reporting improper dumping.
Waste tires are regulated wastes and, by law, must be managed by an authorized facility. Dumping waste tires, or arranging for an improper disposal, are crimes under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) that could result in jail time and fines.
Anyone with information about those responsible for the illegal disposal of tires are encouraged to immediately report the incident and location to DEC Environmental Conservation Police at 1-844-DEC-ECOs.
A listing of waste transporters, or authorized tire disposal options, is available by contacting DEC’s Division of Materials Management at 518-402-8652 or by email at [email protected].
DEC tip sheet to help prevent illegal tire dumping.