Congress Responds to the EPA with the RPM Act of 2016

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In case you missed it, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to close a loophole on how the Clean Air Act is applied to race-oriented vehicles, namely by cracking down on “race use only” parts and and going on to say that it is illegal to alter the emission control systems on a vehicle, even if it is not being used on-road.

The issue has caused quite a stir in the aftermarket parts business, which is understandable since the EPAs enforcement would likely mean hefty fines for any manufacturer who produces these “race only” parts.

Dealerships and other business that sold the racing components could also come under the long hammer of the EPA, with these proposed changes.

While there is some interesting discussion to be had on the matter, the EPA’s actions are certainly troublesome. The federal agency’s reversal on 46 year’s worth of precedent seems a bit disingenuous, and its unilateral “reinterpretation” of the Clean Air Act seems like nothing more than a well-lawyered land-grab.

Thankfully, we have Congress on our side.

Members of the House of Representatives have submitted HR 4715, better known as the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act), to the US Congress, and it currently sits in the Energy & Commerce Committee.

The RPM Act of 2016 makes clear the intent of our legislature that the Clean Air Act does not to apply to the use of vehicles on non-public roads and closed-course race tracks.

HR 4715 was introduced by Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Bill Posey (R-FL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

“The EPA’s new interpretation of the Clean Air Act would essentially rewrite the law and 46 years of policy and practice,” said Kersting. “Without congressional intervention, the racing community and racing parts manufacturers would be operating outside of that new law and could be targeted for enforcement.”

With the EPA currently taking public comment on the its proposed changes in regulation, there is no guarantee the the agency will change its stance on how it views modified production vehicles.

However, the passing of the RPM Act will force the EPA to make an exemption to how it regulates track-only and race-only motorcycles, cars, and trucks.

If you want to support this legislation, we suggest that you contact your representative in Congress  – especially if they sit on the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Source: SEMA