Photo by Jen Muecke
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five members of Congress have introduced a bill that would prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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 use solely for competition. The AMA wants language 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.
A hearing on EPA overreach is scheduled for March 15 before the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology Oversight Subcommittee. The RPM Act is expected to be a part of that discussion.
“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.”
The RPM Act states that it was the clear intent of Congress in passing and amending the Clean Air Act that vehicles manufactured for, modified for or used in organized motorized racing events would not be included in the Clean Air Act’s definition of a “motor vehicle.”
The AMA is coordinating its efforts with the Specialty Equipment Market Association and other racing sanctioning bodies to block the EPA’s proposed regulation of competition-only vehicles, including motorcycles. SEMA represents vehicle aftermarket manufacturers, marketers and distributors.
In the past, SEMA has worked closely with the EPA to make sure products designed explicitly for this kind of modification were acceptable.
“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.”
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.
The EPA recently re-opened the proposed regulation for more public comment. Watch for AMA Action Alerts when targeted reaction from individuals can make a difference. The regulation is scheduled for final approval this summer.