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Anyone familiar with Pumping Iron knows that Arnold Schwarzenegger has always had a history with liberal usage of the word “pump.”  However, nobody (especially this author) expected that, when saying “once I get to Sacramento, I will pump Sacramento” while announcing his gubernatorial campaign on Leno in 2003, Arnold meant signing this county’s most progressive regulations regarding runoff from “pumping the brakes” into law.

Authored by Democratic State Senator Christine Kehoe, SB346 was made official on September 27th 2010 (a full 51 days before Washington’s Better Brakes Law). Ultimately, the law consists of 16 specific regulations (read them all here).

Highlights of the legislation include limiting the amount of copper in brake pads at no more than 5% by weight on January 1st, 2021.  By 2025 that number is reduced to .5%.  In January of 2014 limits on Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, and Mercury will be set at .1% by weight.  As a caveat to these restrictions Brake Pad manufacturers will have to obtain a certificates to demonstrate their compliance with relevant laws in reference to the material composition of their products.  Additionally, a $10,000 civil fine will be levied against those who fail to obtain applicable certificates.

This law came into effect after a decade of cooperation between the “Brake Pad Partnership,” consisting of the auto industry, manufacturers, environmental groups, storm water agencies, and representatives of coastal cities.  Studies funded and performed by them throughout the 2000s found that brake pad dust accounted for 35-60% of copper in California’s watershed run-off.

Prior to the bill’s textualization, the Brake Pad Partnership approached a non-profit association of the global copper industry known as the Copper Development Association to discuss the viability of shifting to alternatives (i.e. ceramic).  Their ultimate findings concluded that a 15 year phase out represented the most auspicious approach.  Soon after their report landed on the desk of Senator Kehoe.

While Arnold may not have completely “started the reactor” on this initiative, California does have his foresight and centrality to thank for the future prosperity of their water systems.  Unfortunately this future has yet to be protected in 48 other states in this nation.  You can sign our “Give Water a Brake” petition at the top right of this page.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet