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EPA’s Overreach on Amateur Racing

By: Laurie Holmes
Date: August 18, 2016

In July 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a policy revision that would make it illegal for certified motor vehicles to be converted into vehicles used solely for competition by reconfiguring emission control devices. The policy proposal was tucked inside a 626-page proposal for Phase 2 regulations for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel consumption for new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. MEMA firmly believes Congress did not intend racecars to be within the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act (CAA). MEMA, along with other industry stakeholders, have voiced opposition to the policy reversal by submitting comments to EPA and submitting a statement for the record for a House hearing in April 2016 and March 2016, respectively.

Motor vehicle reconfigured emission controls could broadly be construed to include any change to a vehicle’s engine, engine control module, intake, exhaust system or other related part. The policy reversal has broad economic impact for many MEMA members and millions of people employed in the racing sector including distribution, retailing, installation, marketing, publishing and entertainment, as well as millions of racing enthusiasts and spectators.

In March 2016, Congress introduced a bill, “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016” (RPM Act) (H.R.4715 and S.2659), clarifying that Congress never intended to motor vehicles used solely for competition to be within the jurisdiction of the CAA.  

In April 2016, EPA announced that they would withdraw its policy proposal, stating that its focus was not on vehicles used exclusively for racing but on “companies that don't play by the rules.” However, EPA did not include in its statement that they did not have authority under the CAA to regulate motor vehicles used solely for competition. In order to provide certainty and clarity for the industry on how the CAA will be applied and enforced, MEMA and other industry stakeholders will continue to push for passage of the RPM Act this year. As of August 19, the bill currently has 22 cosponsors in the Senate and 109 cosponsors in the House.


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