A bill has been presented to the United States House of Representatives that would seek the closure of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) by 2018.
Sent to Congress just last Friday, the text to H.R. 861 has not been published yet by the Government Publishing Office (the service usually takes a day or two), so details are light at this point in time on the bill’s fine-strokes.
However the writer of the bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R – Florida), has been clear in his statements to media outlets and on Twitter that the EPA is a burden on companies; individual states would be better at handling environmental issues than the federal government; and that abolishing the EPA would create more jobs.
H.R. 861 is co-sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (R – Kentucky), Rep. Steven Palazzo (R – Mississippi), and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R – Georgia) – all three co-sponsors have voiced notable opposition to the EPA in the past, and this bill comes at a time when the EPA is already slated to get a massive budget reduction by the Trump administration.
General politics aside, HB 861 will likely be a mixed bag for motorcycle enthusiasts, as it will deregulate environmental restrictions set at the federal level, leaving states to draft or adopt their own provisions, which will likely have a fracturing effect on the regulatory market for motorcycles.
But, it will also mean the abolition of EPA regulations that many motorcyclists oppose, like the blending of ethanol in our fuel, and restrictions on noise, emissions, and vehicle modifications.
H.R. 861 could lead to substantial effects on the motorcycle industry, especially if the closure of the EPA leads to a variety of emission regulations nationwide. This is because if H.R. 861 were to pass, then each state would enforce only its own laws on pollution and noise emissions.
Anyone who has had to deal with a “49-state” motorcycle, can understand the complications that could come from having several competing regulations on noise an tailpipe emissions.
How motorcycle manufacturers would cope with such a reality, remains to be seen (multiple state models vs. one model that meets all state minimums).
At the consumer level, we would most surely a number of changes, one of which would be seeing the power figures of US-bound machines once again equaling what is quoted in the European market.
Machines with lower performance numbers have been quietly imported into the US for quite some time now, mostly because of noise restrictions set by the EPA. Similarly, we would likely see some “race only” powertrain parts (exhausts, fuel injection computers, etc) become legal for street use.
The blending of ethanol into gas would likely stop in certain markets, though in others its use could increase, which could make for some difficulties at the fuel pump. Right now, the EPA mandates that gasoline stations have a dedicated E10 pump available to motorcyclists, when more than one blend of ethanol fuel (E15, E85, etc) is normally delivered by the same pump.
It should be noted that H.R. 861’s author, Rep. Gaetz, is a strong opponent to the mixing of ethanol in fuel.
“The EPA has been doing some drastic things,” Rep. Gaetz said to Florida’s NWF Daily News. “They have exceeded their original mission substantially under both Republican and Democratic presidents and violated the sovereignty of the states. I think we need to start fresh.”
In a leaked email sent to the Huffington Post, Gaetz wrote that “as conservatives, we must understand that states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.”
It remains to be seen how much support H.R. 861 will receive in Congress, though it seems unlikely that the bill will make it all the way to the President’s table.
Still, it notes a particular time in our political landscape where the future and scope of the EPA seems certain to be radically reduced. May you live in interesting times, indeed.
Source: US Congress