Yesterday, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10) introduced H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 or "RPM Act" which blocks attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate modified motor vehicles used for racing. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of the RPM Act is Congressman Richard Hudson (R, NC-08).
For decades, automotive enthusiasts have modified street vehicles into race cars used exclusively at closed race tracks. Recently, the EPA has issued a proposed rule that would make it illegal for this practice to continue via the Clean Air Act. However, Congress never intended for race cars to be subject to the Clean Air Act. The RPM Act would simply confirm that race cars are exempt from EPA regulation via the Clean Air Act.
"The EPA has placed onerous regulations on nearly every aspect of our economy--from energy production to agriculture--and now they are coming after Americans' hobbies. For years my constituents have been free to modify vehicles for competitive use on closed tracks without government interference. The RPM Act will ensure that continues by blocking this EPA overreach allowing motorsports enthusiasts in North Carolina and across the country to continue this time-honored tradition," said Congressman McHenry.
"Regulations that waste our money, time and resources are bad for jobs, but the EPA is going one step further to restrict our personal freedom. Even if I didn't represent Charlotte Motor Speedway and a whole lot of racing enthusiasts, I would be outraged by this ridiculous government overreach. This legislation is a critical step to protect the way of life for many and ensure the future of racing. We're not just going to sound the alarm on this -- we're going to stop it," said Congressman Hudson.
"The EPA's new interpretation of the Clean Air Act would essentially rewrite the law and 46 years of policy and practice," said Chris Kersting, President and CEO of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). "Without congressional intervention, the racing community and racing parts manufacturers would be operating outside of that new law and could be targeted for enforcement. SEMA thanks Representatives McHenry, Cuellar and Hudson for introducing this bill."
BACKGROUND: The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to regulate motor vehicles but these regulations have never applied to race cars. In 1990, Congress affirmed this exemption when it authorized the EPA to regulate "nonroad vehicles" and explicitly excluded any "vehicle used solely for competition" from the nonroad definition. Despite the clear intent of Congress, the EPA's proposed rule attempts to amend the Clean Air Act. H.R. 4715 simply confirms that it would not be considered tampering to modify these vehicles for exclusive track use.
Converting a motor vehicle into a racecar is a significant part of American automotive heritage with the practice having played a large role in the foundation of NASCAR. Additionally, the specialty automotive industry employs over 1 million Americans. Companies that manufacture, distribute, and sell products that improve race vehicle performance are a large and growing part of our economy.