Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Attention, racecar enthusiasts: Your Congressional representatives are looking out for you!
Normally, this phrase would be met with suspicion and outright fear, but for those fighting the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation on racecar conversions, it’s the best news they’ve had in weeks.
A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress would protect the track-only use of modified street vehicles for use in competition, a practice the EPA is seeking to prohibit.
The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act), introduced by three Republicans and one Democrat, aims to keep converted race vehicles away from the tentacles of the EPA. The bill has been sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.
Racecars are exempt under the Clean Air Act, but there was panic in racing circles when it was revealed the regulatory body had published draft legislation last summer that would make it illegal to modify a street car into a racecar. The EPA saw the modifications as a “tampering” of regulated on-road vehicles, and proposed that the sale and purchase of products involved in the conversions would be subject to the same law.
By the time, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) found out about the proposal just before the New Year, it was too late to comment. Since the EPA proposal was revealed to the public a month ago, over 163,000 people have signed a White House petition calling on the EPA to back off.
Raucous applause is already emanating from the SEMA camp.
“The EPA’s new interpretation of the Clean Air Act would essentially rewrite the law and 46 years of policy and practice,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris 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.”
Racing products represent a $1.4 billion annual market, and would be “decimated” if the EPA were to follow through on their plans, according to SEMA. The legislation would have the same effect on hundreds of American racetracks and all associated industries.
The EPA is expected to finalize its regulations this summer, meaning a tsunami of phone calls and emails from opponents will be reaching Congressional representatives very soon.