The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it has withdrawn its plan to regulate the emissions from motor vehicles, including motorcycles, built or used exclusively for racing.
RPM Act still needed to prevent future issues
Under pressure from the American Motorcyclist Association, the Specialty Equipment Market Association and other organizations and racing sanctioning bodies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it has withdrawn its plan to regulate the emissions from motor vehicles, including motorcycles, built or used exclusively for racing.
Issued in July 2015, the final Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles contained what the EPA described as “clarifying language” that would have placed new restrictions on competition-only vehicles. The rule would have prevented owners from changing the exhaust systems of street bikes that would be used exclusively in competition events.
The AMA joined SEMA and other groups to oppose this proposed new restriction and to support a bill in Congress to prevent EPA intrusion into motorsports.
Five members of Congress introduced a bill that would prevent the EPA from regulating the conversion of street bikes and other motor vehicles into competition-only racers. The bi-partisan Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (H.R. 4715, RPM Act) would create and clarify an exemption from a proposed EPA regulation for motor vehicles used solely for competition.
The AMA included language in the RPM Act that specifically exempts competition motorcycles from EPA regulation.
U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) introduced the bill on March 8. By mid-April the bill had 48 House cosponsors and five in the Senate.
More than 3,000 AMA Action Alert subscribers sent more than 10,000 messages to their representatives and senators, urging them to support the RPM Act.
Despite the EPA’s withdrawal of its plan to regulate the emission of competition-only motor vehicles, the AMA and SEMA believe the RPM Act remains an important piece of legislation because it would prevent the EPA from ever initiating action to regulate emissions produced by race-only vehicles.
“The RPM Act would make it clear that it has always been legal to modify motor vehicles – including motorcycles – for competition-only use,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. “This practice continued unquestioned until last July, when the EPA proposed a new regulation that would make these conversions illegal. The EPA has never claimed the conversion of street vehicles into competition vehicles was prohibited before this regulation was proposed.”
In its April 15 announcement, the EPA said it “supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country.”
The agency said: “EPA’s focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don’t play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads. These unlawful defeat devices pump dangerous and illegal pollution into the air we breathe.
“The proposed language in the July 2015 proposal was never intended to represent any change in the law or in EPA’s policies or practices towards dedicated competition vehicles,” the EPA said. “Since our attempt to clarify led to confusion, EPA has decided to eliminate the proposed language from the final rule.”
The agency plans to “continue to engage with the racing industry and others about ways to ensure that EPA supports racing and while maintaining the agency’s focus where it has always been: reducing pollution from the cars and trucks that travel along America’s roadways and through our neighborhoods.”
Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional. The AMA sanctions more than 1,700 competition events each year. According to SEMA, retail sales of racing products total $1.4 billion annually. The National Speedway Directory shows there are more than 1,300 racetracks operating across the United States.