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'Life-Saving Legislation' Faces Critical Test in Maine

Phase Out Coal Tar Sealant Use to be Heard in Committee on Thursday Two years ago Representative Mattie Daughtry introduced legislation...

Phase Out Coal Tar Sealant Use to be Heard in Committee on Thursday


Two years ago Representative Mattie Daughtry introduced legislation to ban coal tar pavement sealers. Opposition was concerned about a ban affecting businesses and narrowly defeated the bill by just a few votes.

But a lot has changed since 2013.

Representative Daughtry talked with us about those changes as well as her motivation in bringing the bill forward, the political climate and her hopes of getting it passed.

Here are some of the what's new:
  • The bill has been written to give suppliers and contractors more time to adapt or work through existing materials.
  • An amendment is coming that spells out the details of an enforcement programs.
  • Unlike 2 years ago, there are many more alternative sealcoat products available from the largest sealer manufacturers; many promising fast cure times in marginal weather, fuel resistance, durable and maintaining a deep, black color. West Coast asphalt sealers are expanding their territories to the East.
  • There's also more science to support banning the coal tar sealers such as the 58% reduction in pollutant levels in Austin in less than 10 years after the ban was passed; how exposure to these chemicals is more than a cancer risk, but also affects brain and behavioral development; and a greater understanding of the short term and long term polluting potential of a sealed lot.
A Father's Influence

Representative Daughtry credits her father with educating her about stormwater pollution and the dangers of coal tar pavement sealers. He is a civil engineer and studied the problem in the Long Creek Watershed (Portland area). The Plan recommended a reduction in the use of coal tar based pavement sealers back in 2009. Daughtry has been taking advantage of his recent retirement to aide her passage of this bill.

Her father has also been researching the status of non-coal-tar sealants too. He's found a plethora of suitable substitutes, which makes creates the opportunity to move away from coal tar sealers.

A Rare Opportunity

Representative Daughtry characterized this as a "rare opportunity" and a "no-brainer" where a toxic product has multiple substitutes. Typically, there just aren't any, but here there are products with proven track records which won't affect businesses.

She expressed a willingness to work with applicators to phase-out these products.

Bipartisan Bill

The bill has several co-sponsors including a few Republicans who support the ban. Daughtry said they were convinced when learning about the human health effects of coal tar sealers, suitable substitutes and the negative economic impact of coal tar sealers.

Citizens Needed!

Daughtry admitted the legislation faces some uncertainty as it moves forward. This Thursday the bill goes before the joint Environment and Natural Resources Committee at 12 pm EST. Supporters are encouraged to contact individual members and let their opinions be known.

She concluded our conversation with this:

"I am excited to see how the bill moves forward with some great new information that backs up why these products need to be out of our ecosystem, our driveways, our feet and being tracked into our homes. I'm hoping this is the year will we get this important, life saving legislation through."

Listen to the entire interview with Representative Daughtry

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Coal Tar Free America: 'Life-Saving Legislation' Faces Critical Test in Maine
'Life-Saving Legislation' Faces Critical Test in Maine
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