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

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    Even if the EPA has overreached or is wasteful with public money, I simply cannot see how eliminating it can be good in any way.

  • coreyvwc

    China doesn’t have enforceable EPA regulations, and have you ever seen motorcyclists having a good time riding in Beijing? No, no you haven’t…

  • Travis Zilch

    As an employee of a major diesel engine manufacturer and their subsequent emission systems, I can’t imagine what the proliferation of emissions requirements would do to our business. One would imagine manufacturers would meet the most stringent requirement and leave it to the consumer to accept or reject it.

  • Which is what we saw happen with the 50-state bikes…but if a state, like say California, started making big changes to its emissions laws it could do interesting things. It gets more interesting if changes occur by region. I honestly don’t know how it would all play out.

  • MikeD

    WOW, i thought i would never see the day, BUUUUUT . . . “double edged sword” proverb comes to mind at lightning speed.

  • cmbowen

    I can’t see any good coming out of shutting down the EPA. A few more horsepower and some trick parts might be nice but.

    I like the idea of clean air and clean water. I have heard it helps with survival. Look at some of the environmental shit-holes the EPA has made companies clean up. Does anyone really think the companies are going to be looking to do the right thing?

    Having the states regulate on a state level won’t work. What happens when call it state 1 is dumping nasty crap in the river. And the river flows through state 2. State 2 wants the nasty crap cleaned up and state 1 tells them to go pound sand up their a$$.

    I am not some crazy tree hugger. I am a race fan and gearhead like I bet many of the people that come here to A&R. Do I think the EPA has done everything right? Nope, not a chance. Environmental control needs to stay with a central agency and hopefully with some clout.

  • Dasboost

    Dumb idea. Destroying the environment is not going to help anyone (globally).

  • Thats the danger about that sort of business in america: we are team dilligaf. We dont care if the things we buy have negative effects to our neighbors, because we dont value our social fabric over whatever dopamine release we get personally from the product. We have to make laws to prevent parents from smoking cigs around their own kids. “Sad.” We’re gonna have to soon ban diesels to prevent folks from intentionally rolling coal past pedestrians, because people cant be bothered to care about someone else. That cant feel good to you that your company’s main technology is being used to troll people.

    I dont like the concept of the EPA any more than Trump, but im not upstream of all the b.s. like he is either.

  • mikstr

    “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” – Native American proverb
    While I don’t agree with everything the US EPA (and other such agencies) does, I know that greedy, profit-driven companies cannot be counted on to look after our collective welfare… What a clusterf**k….

  • spamtasticus

    I have had a single interaction event with the EPA and offer it as a first hand account. A couple of years ago we found out that a very popular children’s park was in fact a toxic waste dump for solid byproduct of a garbage incinerater from the 20s to the 80s. They found lead, dyoxins and other heavy metals. Exactly the stuff you don’t want toddlers messing with. Myself and a group of neighbors and parents tried every tactic to get the city and then the county to close and clean it up. They gave us a tremendous runarround and dragged their feet for an entire year, all the while not only keeping the park open but puting no warnings. About six months in I contacted the EPA on 16 occasions with almost as many officials in several levels all with the same result. They reffered me to my local government for resolution regardless of being clearly explained of ther inaction. They had no time or care for our little toxic waste. We had to shame the city in the press and then replace the city fools that were complacent to get the parked cleaned up. How successful do you think we would be in replacing EPA officials not doing their job properly? The further away the government is from you the less voice you have. I dont know what would happen if they were abolished, I do know they were useless in our case wich was within their chartered role and we were powerless to affect change.

  • “I dont know what would happen if they were abolished, I do know they were useless in our case wich was within their chartered role and we were powerless to affect change.”

    lets review the scope of the EPA and what they do before we throw them out for not covering your local government’s incompetencies.

  • spamtasticus

    “Our mission is to protect human health and the environment” EPA

    I am not throwing them out. I am relating my personal experience with their complete lack of assistance with a serious enviromental threat. If hundreds of children playing on an illegal toxic waste dump is not part of their scope then what is? How many children need to have developmental dissorders before it is within the EPA’s scope? I’m not advocating abolishment, I’m stating they are bad at their job.

  • Mitchel Durnell

    Well, you can’t see motorcyclists in China, period. Because of the smog. *rimshot*

  • gildasd

    Ethanol allow more compression before knock sets in, and since we are not going to get 100+ octane fuel at the pump, it’s the next best thing for tuning. All that is needed is a few orings and gaskets change…
    Cleaner air means less air filter changes, cleaner water means more places to ride to to skinny dip and cleaner earth means dirt riding (and the associated dirt eating) not being a cancer risk.

  • Rich

    As lifelong resident of Cleveland OH, I saw first hand what
    happens to the environment went left unprotected, the Cuyahoga River catching fire
    from oil and other petroleum products dumped into it, raw sewage flowing in
    creeks and on the shores of Lake Erie, air pollution so thick neighborhoods
    turned orange from the particulates, and Lake Erie on the brink of being
    declared DEAD. And not just Cleveland, all
    over the US – just do a web search for the most polluted cleanup sites in the
    US. It may be the case the EPA has
    gotten too restrictive and we do need to ease up a bit to encourage economic
    growth but to eliminate it completely would wreak havoc on our
    environment. To leave heavy industry unrestrained
    in the hands of corporate greed would be catastrophic.

  • Emptybee

    It’s not going to happen.

  • MrDefo

    Given that ethanol is a big boon to the corn industry, who pays a lot to politicians, I don’t see it going away, EPA or no. They can roll it into another provision.

  • MacaveliMC

    Hmmmm, this is an interesting idea. I do think that doing away with the EPA could do a lot of good, but obviously we need SOME sort of government regulation of environmental issues that affect the nation, kind of like how we’d never get rid of the military and have states protect themselves, because the federal gov. is still tasked with protecting the country as a whole. I do think there should be SOME sort of (very limited) federal role to deal with issues that affect the entire nation, but I believe in large part that control and decision making should be given to states and even down to local communities as much as possible. It’s much easier to go on down to your local government than it is to go to Washington D.C. Bring power closer to the people, and they may start caring more about “doing something about it” because the decision makers are within arms reach. Just some thoughts…

  • Sam Miller

    Does anybody else see the irony that this bill was introduced by a senator from a state that will mostly likely be underwater when the sea level rises???

  • Walter
  • Ryan Donahue

    Ethanol is poison to most motorcycles. It’s just an o-ring or gasket. It’s much bigger than that.

  • Ayabe

    “as conservatives, we must understand that states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.”

    Derp, except streams, rivers, air, etc. don’t seem to respect state or municipal boundaries you dope.

    I hate these people and everything they stand for.

  • Ayabe

    All politics is local, they were likely hamstrung by these same ideologues that you seem to endorse.

    It’s like the pre-emptive legislation that is now all the rage, written by the industry lobbyists which prevent local municipalities from banning fracking and the like.

  • gildasd

    Injectors too maybe, I mean there is a bit of work (auto, moto, tractor there always is except if sold compatible by the OEM) so a free lunch it is not, but the potential is enormous.
    In fact, I don’t get why nobody sells complete conversion kits including insane high compression pistons.
    On a future thinking note, the only way forward for IC is forced induction (blower, pre spooled turbo etc), with direct injection and smaller capacity to achieve the emissions that civilised lands ask. This introduces knock and NoX issues that ethanol simplifies big time.

  • Ryan Donahue

    You fail to realize the whole water in the fuel issue and the expansion issues that comes with it. No ethanol.




    Seems more like an issue with people not doing their jobs, rather than an issue with the mission of the EPA. Fixing lazy and stupid is hard, not impossible though. It seems like it should be an easier task to replace dead weight than make new dirt, water, and air.

  • Barry Rothwell Taylor

    Adding alcohol to gasoline makes no sense , you need a solvent to make it mix , typically benzol or benzene – a known carcinogen .
    It used to be added to racing fuel in the 50’s as was tetra-ethyl-lead but then gasoline was 70 octane and there were few options . Now in Europe standard pump fuel is 95 º , option of 98 º if you want but even a Veyron runs on standard .
    Only reason to add alcohol these days is because it’s making money for somebody with influence .

  • gildasd

    It’s “solved” for high performance small capacity engines, most notably those of Japanese origin. These are in function very similar to motorbike engines.
    I get that is more complicated than changing a can, not worthwhile on older bikes, but as long as it’s 4 stroke, there are no conceptual barriers.

  • Ryan Donahue

    I think we’re talking two different things here. I have never, in any of my vehicles – be it modern or 20 years old – to have worked well with ethanol fuel. It’s garbage and needs to go.

  • gildasd

    It’s added in for all the wrong reasons, but it can be taken advantage of for performance.
    Euro 98 is at least 30% aromatics of the benzene family, so it should be solvent to ethanol. I need to get some 98 to test this theory!
    I’m no expert on the Veyron, but I strongly suspect relatively low unblown compression and a mix of intake injection and direct injection at the spark (amongst many other highly trick features) to charge cool while remaining below knock stœchiométrie – to be able to use 95 at full blast.
    Not the kind of stuff I’d want to bother with if all I wanted was to blow a 600 to reach the 1000’s power range…

  • gildasd

    For a daily driver with no fuel type sensor and on the fly mapping, it’s crap, we agree. I would not put it in my hedge trimer.
    I’m just arguing that for high compression engines, it gives tuning options, especially if blown.

  • Old Boy

    True, we might be able to tweak ICE technology to adapt to higher ethanol level/octane fuels. Japanese OEM’s tackle this better than Euro OEM’s who struggle to manage US fuel changes and the impact on their vehicles.

    My bigger issue is the $1.62 of tax subsidies each bushel of corn gets (total COGS per bushel is $2.18) that we all have to pay. And the fact that nearly 1/3 of the midwest US is covered in non-edible corn used primarily for ethanol production. We could have a better use of our land and our tax dollars, so I don’t see how this ultimately creates cleaner air and cleaner water, quite the opposite.

    I love motorcycles and value to entire riding community. That said – deregulation of emission standards and related governance will ultimately be another nail in the coffin for the future of motorcycles in the US (think of that sweet-ass R1 that rips by your house at 112db in the middle of the night and smaller Euro OEM’s departing the market).

    Now…how do I get off this damn high horse…

  • Rick Kovacic

    Being an avid motorcyclist, and someone who has studied environmental impact in graduate school, my thoughts are people sponsoring such bills are 1) more interested in money than clean air & water, and 2) really have no knowledge of how the global environmental system works and how it reacts to various changes.

    The current administration is not living in the 21st century, has no knowledge of environmental processes, and is not interested in what you think, or the world your children will inherit.

    Motorcycling as a whole, needs to look forward and support legislation (and engineering) that allows us to enjoy riding and living in a healthy world for coming decades. This is possible.

  • Jason

    That is where the promised additional jobs come from… The increased lawsuits between the states should put quite a few lawyers to work.

  • Jason

    Ethanol is only an issue in engines because the engine manufacturers don’t spend the tiny amount of money required to make them work with ethanol. It costs about $100 to make a car flex-fuel and able to work on any blend of ethanol up to E85. That is at today’s prices with tiny economies of scale.

    The high octane value of ethanol has very real performance advantages, especially in turbocharged engines. However, in the USA most flex-fuel vehicles are low compression V8’s due to the CAFE credits for making a vehicle flex-fuel.

  • Jason

    If you lived in Brazil you would have a very different experience. Every engine there from line trimmers to cars work fine on ethanol.

  • Repeal and replace…

  • Tyler Hammond

    how fast or loud my bike is, is not more important than the environment. “It will create jobs” is a stone face lie from the current administration and they are not to be trusted at all. they are setting up america for a playground for the 1%. and we will not be able to do a thing about it…. with the now Devos education secretary… because we are all going to be even dumber than her with her program…if she even has one.

  • Tyler Hammond

    thats about it…and dont forget the golf games between CEOs and the state EPA

  • even epa looking into an entire city gets political. good ole gop once again trying to make the government look incompenent so they can sell it off and privatize it: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/20/498717256/watchdog-epa-action-to-protect-flint-residents-from-lead-was-delayed-7-months

  • Mitchel Durnell

    Have you seen who is currently in majority power in US government?

  • gordon strickland

    Same for the Dept. of Education, today Rep. Massie of Ky. submitted legislation to terminate that department as well.

  • gordon strickland

    not that any of it has a chance of passing, but then again….

  • Emptybee

    Yes, I work in government relations in an industry heavily regulated by the EPA.

  • spamtasticus

    What idealogs do I seem to endorse?

  • victor victor bravo

    Tell that to all of the businesses that have be victim to there “stings” like having a customer ask for a larger tire on his Harley only to find out the EPA is claiming it changes fuel efficiency and they want 20,000 from the business owner after arbitration – yeah that actually happened and it’s happening all over so cal that they are trying to shut down every independent motorcycle shop they can by bleeding there accounts dry – which is the point to seize money, not fix the environment – like our jackass mayor who welcomed into LA Harbor a container ship that pollutes more than all of the motorcycles in the USA combined possibly could if all of there emissions equipment was removed.

  • spamtasticus

    It never fails to amaze me how people view every aspect of government and politics through a blindinly parisan lense. Thinking that this is a conflict between “our team” and “their team” is astonishingly nieve and sheepish. There is no clear agenda for either party. Everything they collectively espouse is nothing but a tailored message designed to convince as many people to fund and then vote for them in the context of fake adversity against the other team. Not only are these narratives fake but none of the power players in each group follows all or even most of these ideals. People basically vote for the message. What is worse, the message changes drastically depending on what team is in power. When Snowden leaked intel of government wrongdoing most of the power players in the incumbent team called for his head on a platter as a criminal. Now that someone leaked wrongdoing of a key figure in the current executive, thise same power players are calling the leak a valuable public service and the leaker a hero. I am not trying to tell anyone how to think, just that you think deeper than the reflection on the surface.

    /steps off soap box

  • i dont mind the soap box, i mind that your post is the same mess of misspelled words and conservative obstructionist rhetoric that is so flawed at the core it would take an actual conversation to unravel and get you back to reality. ill keep it simple then: nothing you just said changes the fact that the gop is currently trying to quarter off and sell our governent, our public land, and our public infrastructure to whoever gives them lots of money. in the last few weeks weve seen the gop try to sell off public education, national parks, healthcare… more than willing to trample human rights and science to do it. hell, they’ll throw to pope under the bus too if he starts talking about climate change, evolution and refugees. thats how you know the goo’s narrative is just a narrative. democrats at least dont deny scientific concensus and human rights. al gore, hillary, and obama all have different packaging, some more successful than others, but they all dont deny facts due to lobby groups. dismantling the government, the epa, is dictionary definition government obstructionism, of which there are hundreds more examples i can show you, because the goal of the gop is to make the government fail, blame the dems, then offer up a for-profit corporately owned feudal government as the solution.

  • spamtasticus

    Thank you for confirming my point. I’m not a member of the GOP or a “conservative” and my point actually aligns much more with liberalism but your brain was incapable of seeing my comment in any way other than binary. You are from team blue and therefore anyone or anything you dissagree with must be team red.

    If a law is bad and does more damage than good. Does repealing it constitute “the dissmantling of government”? What does retoric mean again?