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Congress urges U.S. safety panel to exclude youth-model motorcycles and ATVs from anti-lead law

April 03, 2009

U.S. House and Senate members have written letters to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), asking the panel to exclude youth-model motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from a new lead law that bars them from being sold.

The law is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which went into effect in February. It was meant to protect children 12 and under from toys containing lead. But the law also covers youth-model motorcycles and ATVs, meaning they can't be sold unless they are granted an exclusion from the law.

"At a time when our economy is in crisis, we cannot afford unnecessary regulations that do nothing to protect our children but harm small businesses and motorized recreation," said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) "Michigan's economy depends on both a healthy manufacturing sector and a recreation and tourism sector, which is why I have called on the CPSC to exempt off-highway vehicle manufacturers from unnecessary testing of these vehicles."

The two-member CPSC is expected to vote soon on whether to grant an exemption from the CPSIA for youth-model motorcycles and ATVs. Acting Commission Chairman Nancy Nord indicated on Friday, April 3 that she will vote against granting an exemption, but that she supports a one-year moratorium on enforcement to give Congress an opportunity to change the law. Commissioner Thomas Moore, the second member of the commission, has yet to vote.

Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations, hopes the federal agency will follow the wishes of Congress and grant the exclusion.

"The banning of the sale of new and used youth-model motorcycles and ATVs, as well as certain replacement parts, is devastating for families who enjoy motorized recreation, the safety of children who may ride bigger, more powerful machines, the thousands of small independent dealers across America that are already struggling to survive the economic recession, and the manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers who serve these customers," he said.

Federal lawmakers who signed the letters seeking the exclusion for youth-model motorcycles and ATVs are U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).

Also, U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska).

In the House, those who signed the letter are U.S. Reps. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), Travis Childers (D-Miss.), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), John Murtha (D-Pa.), Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.)

Also, U.S. Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill,) and Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).

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