National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent its 2020 proposal for renewable fuel volume obligations to the White House Office of Management and Budget on May 6. The proposed rule, part of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, sets forth the levels of ethanol to be blended into the nation's fuel supply next year. It also includes 2021 standards for biomass-based diesel. EPA spokesman Michael Abboud declined to disclose the proposed levels of ethanol for 2020. However, a Reuters news report stated that total RVO would be 20.04 billion gallons in 2020, up from 19.92 billion gallons in 2019. The amount of conventional biofuels, like ethanol, would remain unchanged from 2019 at 15 billion gallons. Advanced biofuels, like those made from agricultural wastes, would increase from 4.92 billion in 2019 to 5.04 billion gallons in 2020. The AMA would object to any increase in the amount of ethanol blended into the nation's fuel supply that would result in a decrease in availability of ethanol-free fuel (E0) or fuel containing 10 percent ethanol (E10). None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is certified by the EPA to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Higher ethanol blends can cause engine damage and void manufacturers' warranties. OMB review is the final step in the process before the proposed rule is released to the public for comment. The EPA is charged with issuing a final rule in November.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U. S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) has introduced the “Food and Fuel Consumer Protection Act of 2019” (H.R. 2540) that would prevent EPA Renewable Fuel Standard blending obligations from requiring ethanol to exceed 9.7 percent of the total volume of gasoline projected to be sold in the United States in any year. Flores introduced a similar bill in 2016.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delivered its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard “reset” rule to the White House Office of Budget and Management on May 20. OMB review marks a final step before a proposed rule is released for public comment. The provisions of the RFS program require the EPA to reset its annual renewable volume obligations for future years if waivers of those volumes in past years meet certain thresholds. The EPA notice says those thresholds have been met or are expected to be met in the near future. So the EPA has proposed adjusting the RVOs for cellulosic biofuels, advanced biofuels and total renewable fuel for the 2020-2022. The “reset” rulemaking is separate from the agency’s proposed rule to set RVOs for 2020, along with the RVO for 2021.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced the commitment of more than $106.8 million to support 47 public lands projects throughout Nevada and the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin. These projects, which encompass a broad range of recreation improvements, wildlife habitat conservation, and hazardous fuels reduction and wildfire prevention projects, will be funded through the sale of public lands under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. Receiving funds in Round 17 are: the City of North Las Vegas, White Pine County, City of Las Vegas, Clark County, Lincoln County, City of Henderson, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The AMA and a broad spectrum of trail-advocacy organizations are teaming up with the U.S. Forest Service to improve both motorized and nonmotorized trails in national forests. The AMA has twice been involved in similar, successful joint grant efforts. Any project that meets national quality standards will qualify for consideration. The program originated in a partnership between the Forest Service and the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. It is being administered collaboratively by the NWSA, the AMA, the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council/NOHVCC, the International Mountain Biking Association, the American Hiking Society and the Backcountry Horsemen of America. For more information, visit www.wildernessalliance.org or contact the AMA at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is June 14.
HARTFORD, Conn. — The House of Representatives passed a bill (H.B. 6161) that would require motorcyclists 20 years old or younger to wear a helmet while riding. Deputy Speaker Michelle Cook (D–Torrington) sponsored the bill. The law would take effect October 1, 2019, and violators could have to pay a fine of up to $90. The bill applies to drivers of motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds and motorbikes.
BATON ROUGE, La. — H.B. 141, which would create a law enforcement training program on motorcyclist profiling, passed the House, 91-0, on May 15 and is now before the Senate. The bill defines motorcyclist profiling as the "arbitrary use of the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle- related clothing or paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop, question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search the individual or his motorcycle or motor vehicle."
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the sale in the state of fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. In issuing the veto, Mills said E15 (fuel containing as much as 15 percent ethanol by volume) is not currently sold in Maine and "there is insufficient scientific evidence or data to support the claim that it adversely impacts health.” Pro-ethanol groups are pushing more gas stations to sell E15, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to start allowing E15 sales year round across the country. Currently, E15 is unavailable in most of the country during the hot summer months.
LANSING, Mich. — On May 21, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson unveiled the awareness campaign "Motorcyclists Are Hard to See. Look Twice. Save a Life." The campaign is aimed at preventing motorcycle crashes in Michigan by teaching people about the importance of constantly looking for motorcycles while driving. The effort will include billboards, radio ads and social media spots. It will be funded through the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund, which was created by the Michigan Legislature in 2017.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A bill passed by the legislature would allow motorcyclists 18 or older to ride without a helmet. The bill does require motorcyclists to be covered by a health insurance policy before riding without a helmet.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — State Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R- Monongahela) has introduced legislation prohibiting grass clippings from roadways. She said clippings can cause the surface of the roadway to become extremely slippery, causing motorcycle crashes. Grass on roadways can also clog storm drains and contribute to run-off pollution into streams. Bartolotta’s bill would treat offenses related to grass clippings on roadways in the same way as other litter. Fines would range from $50 to $300 for a first offense and $300 to $1,000 for a subsequent offense. Offenders also would be required to remove clippings from the road.
AUSTIN, Texas — A bill to include motorcycles in the state's electric vehicle rebate program failed to make it to the Senate floor. S.B. 486, sponsored by state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) would have allowed a rebate of as much as $2,500 for the purchase of an electric motorcycle. The AMA believes this bill was important because it would have ended a discriminatory policy against motorcyclists, who should be eligible for the same benefits as other motor vehicle owners. Ensuring motorcyclists have access to the same rights and programs as the owners of other vehicles is a key part of the AMA mission. Importantly, this bill also recognized motorcycles as part of the future of transportation and something to be encouraged and incentivized for the benefit of all road users.
HANKSVILLE, Utah — After 10 years of extensive monitoring, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has reopened 5,400 acres in the Factory Butte Special Recreation Management Area to motorized recreation. The Richfield Field Office has rescinded the 2006 Factory Butte OHV travel restriction after meeting criteria to develop a threatened and endangered species monitoring plan and installing infrastructure to protect endangered cactus species. Two OHV areas were subject to temporary travel restrictions until monitoring and infrastructure requirements were in place: Factory Butte (5,300 acres) and Caineville Cove (100 acres). After meeting the criteria, those areas are now available for motorized use. Additionally, riders can continue to enjoy cross-country riding at Factory Butte within the Swing Arm City OHV Play Area (2,602 acres) and more than 200 miles of designated routes in the area.
MONTICELLO, Utah — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee will meet in Monticello June 5-6. The draft agenda includes welcoming new committee members, selecting a chair and soliciting members' comments on development of the draft monument management plan and draft environmental impact statement for the Shash Jaa and Indian Creek units of the monument. A public comment period is planned during the meeting, but commenters' time may be limited, depending on how many wish to speak. Anyone interested in bringing related matters to the attention of the committee may also file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. The sessions are 1-5 p.m. June 5 and 8 a.m. to noon June 6 at the Hideout Community Center, 648 Hideout Way. For more information, contact Lisa Bryant, BLM public affairs specialist, at (435) 259-2187 or email@example.com.
IRVINE, Calif. — The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will share information from their motorcyclist behavior studies with autonomous vehicle developers. Data from the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study will be available to any AV-related company, from vehicle manufacturers to tech companies, through VTTI. In exchange for providing access to the MSF 100, VTTI will ensure that the MSF can use the datasets from AV-related research for its own analysis and published works. The goal is to ensure motorcyclists are included in AV research programs.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Harley-Davidson has closed its factory here, resulting in the loss of 800 jobs. The company said it has been providing support for employee transitions for the past year through a workforce development center, hosting job fairs with more than 100 local employers and offering free employment skills workshops and training. Harley-Davidson said at the time the closure was announced that production from the Kansas City plant would be shifted to the company's plant in York, Pa. The company is completing a $150 million expansion in York, where expects to hire as many as 450 workers to support increased production.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Fans of motorcycle competition will have all the racing and trials they could ask for at 2019 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Honda, July 5-7 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Vintage and post-vintage competition will be held in hare scrambles, motocross, trials, flat track and road racing. Several forms of exhibition racing also are planned. Class winners in the trials, hare scramble, motocross and road racing disciplines will be recognized, and AMA National Champions will receive AMA National No. 1 plates. The flat track race, which takes place at the Ashland County Fairgrounds, is the seventh round of the AMA Vintage Flat Track Series. In addition, two outstanding riders will earn the AMA Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship and the AMA Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship for excelling in expert-level eligible classes. Full details are available at www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and Hall of Fame Legend Malcolm Smith was presented with the 2019 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award on May 4 by AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, Calif. Smith gained notoriety for his accomplishments in the Baja 1000 and for his gold-medal-winning rides in the International Six Days Enduro competitions. His fame reached well beyond the motorcycling community when he starred in the influential 1970s motorcycle film, “On Any Sunday.” The movie helped launch an explosion in the popularity of off-road motorcycling in America. Smith went on to become a successful businessman with Malcolm Smith Motorsports motorcycle dealership in Riverside, Calif. He also organized numerous fundraising rides in Baja, Mexico, that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for an orphanage in Valle de la Trinidad, Baja California. Smith was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998 and declared a Hall of Fame Legend in 2012. Throughout Smith's storied racing career and subsequent business and philanthropic ventures, he has been an advocate for the AMA mission and its programs.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The 2019 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award, presented at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, Calif., went to a 1970 Jawa 652 "Banana Frame" ISDT owned by Chris Carter, the owner and president of Motion Pro. Carter was an International Six Day Trials rider in the mid-1970s. The ISDT is now known as the FIM International Six Days Enduro. The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award recognizes a model that best represents a contribution or contributions that AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers have made to the growth of American motorcycling. Read more at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Home/AMA-News-And-Press-Releases/1970-jawa-652-banana-frame-isdt-wins-2019-ama-motorcycle-hall-of-fame-heritage-award-12.
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