HR 4715, also known as the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016, or RPM Act – who says Congress doesn't have a sense of humor? – was put forth by a bipartisian group of US Representatives. And while it's not a wholesale shutdown of the EPA's aggressive new take on the Clean Air Act, it will ensure that road cars that have been converted to racing won't be violating any federal environmental standards. So competition-only cars will be safe, but it sounds like you'll still be in trouble with the EPA if you make emissions mods to pure road cars.
"SEMA thanks Representatives McHenry, Cuellar, Hudson, Posey and Zeldin for introducing this bill," SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting said in an official release. "We intend to work closely with our congressional allies to ensure that the Clean Air Act continues to allow the conversion and use of street vehicles as racecars."
As far as legislation goes, of course, the RPM Act is a long way from being law. It's been put forth and assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and still has a number of potential roadblocks (sorry) that could get in the way of its signing. We'll keep an eye on this one as it crawls its way through the legislature.
Read on for SEMA's official release on the matter.
March 8, 2016
SEMA Applauds New Congressional Legislation to Protect Modified Motor Vehicles
Bill Seeks to Overturn Threat to Modified Racecars and Parts Suppliers
Washington, DC (March 8, 2016) – SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting today praised Congressional members for their introduction of a bipartisan bill that would protect thousands of American racecar enthusiasts from overreaching U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
"The EPA's new interpretation of the Clean Air Act would essentially rewrite the law and 46 years of policy and practice," said 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." The language in H.R. 4715 makes clear Congress' intent to exclude competition-only cars from the scope of the Clean Air Act, including converted street vehicles.
H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act) was introduced by U.S. Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Bill Posey (R-FL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to ensure that converting street vehicles to racecars used exclusively in competition does not violate the Clean Air Act. The practice was unquestioned until last year when the EPA published draft regulations that would make vehicle and engine conversions illegal and subject to the law's tampering penalties.
Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional. Retail sales of racing products make up a $1.4 billion market annually. According to the National Speedway Directory, there are over 1,300 racetracks operating across the U.S., including oval, road, track and off-road racetracks. If the EPA regulations were to be finalized, the impact on racers, racetracks and businesses that cater to the racer community would be substantial.
The EPA recently re-opened the proposed regulations to receive additional public comment. However, allowing public comment does not resolve the issue because the EPA has not withdrawn the problematic language in its proposed regulation, nor has it conceded that motor vehicles may be modified for competition use.
"SEMA thanks Representatives McHenry, Cuellar, Hudson, Posey and Zeldin for introducing this bill," Kersting added. "We intend to work closely with our congressional allies to ensure that the Clean Air Act continues to allow the conversion and use of street vehicles as racecars."
The RPM Act has been assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. The EPA proposed regulations are scheduled to be finalized this summer.
Supporters of legislation to overturn the EPA regulation may contact their member of Congress and urge them to support the RPM Act by clicking here.