New EPA Regulation Could Put the Brakes on Amateur Racing
Is nothing sacred anymore?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a new rule under the Clean Air Act that could end up dealing a significant blow to auto racing. While NASCAR and other professional racing would remain exempt, the proposed language would effectively make it illegal for hobbyists or amateur drivers to tamper with or disable emissions control systems on road vehicles, which is typically required in order to convert a standard vehicle into a high-performance racecar.
EPA maintains the new language merely clarifies what has long been the agency’s goal: to prevent so-called “defeat devices” or other emissions-related aftermarket parts from being installed in cars on public roads. However, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) – the trade association representing manufacturers of aftermarket car parts – believes the new language represents a fundamental shift in EPA’s interpretation, putting at risk the $36 billion automotive aftermarket industry.
Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and Congressmen Patrick McHenry and Richard Hudson from North Carolina – a state indelibly tied to NASCAR and auto racing – have recently introduced the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act in both chambers of Congress in order to inhibit this latest example of EPA overreach. The bill, which is supported by SEMA, would prevent EPA from regulating vehicles solely used for competition under the Clean Air Act.
Furthermore, well over 100,000 racing enthusiasts and hobbyists have recently signed onto a “We the People” petition on the White House’s website, hitting the threshold needed for an official response.