Government mandated property confiscation

September 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm • Posted in ALL POSTS17 Comments

Beware! Not only did the legislature ban the use of lead wheel weights on passenger cars and small trucks (large trucks are exempt), but they appear to have given tire shops throughout the state the right to confiscate these weights (your property), sell them to scrap dealers, and keep the money from recycling them. There is not much money involved because lead prices are relatively low, but it sets a very bad precedent. What will our legislature decide to confiscate from the public next time?
When the law was passed, it was justified because the state was trying to keep lead out of the environment to protect fish. When I contacted people at both Fisheries and Ecology, I found this legislation was not specifically supported by either group. I did find that it was copied from a law that was passed in California.
Last month, I was on a trip to Chelan and had a tire blow out while traveling over Snoqualamie Pass. When I arrived in Chelan, I went to a wrecking yard to get a replacement tire and wheel. When I discovered the wheel did not fit over the axle hub, I went to Walmart to have the good tire removed from the incorrect rim and had it mounted on the correct rim. When I requested the old wheel weights from both wheels, I was told that it was against the law for them to return the weights to me.
I walked over to the sporting goods section to check out fishing gear and found that the same people who confiscated my lead wheel weights were selling lead fishing weights. I also found out that citizens of Washington are not allowed to purchase used weights for other uses such as casting, body work, or the ballast for keels in sailboats, but the Chinese (a nation run by dictators who swallowed up the nation of Tibet, who sent troops to North Korea to kill Americans, and who trades with nations that want to destroy the United States) are allowed to buy our lead so they can put it into our products including toys for our children and ammunition for the Taliban that can be used to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. It reminds me of what our nation did in the 1930’s when we sold steel and oil to Japan and they used these products to bomb Pearl Harbor and eventually murder more than 100,000 young American boys.
Another problem with this law is that the new galvanized steel wheel weights are more dangerous to fish because elevated levels of zinc are leached from the weights during rainstorms. Lead is chosen as the material for battery posts because of its resistance to corrosion even from strong acids. That same chemical property plus its malleability and density made it the best choice for wheel weights. Steel wheel weights can become wedged in cracks in the pavement and puncture tires whereas lead is too soft to cause that.