EPA Racing to Regulate Amateur Racecars
by Lamar Smith on March 15, 2016 at 12:12 PM
The Oversight Subcommittee today held a hearing titled “Racing to Regulate: EPA’s Latest Overreach on Amateur Drivers” to review proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations targeting amateur racecars and parts suppliers.
Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to apply to these vehicles and the law is clear on this point. Racecars are not regulated by this law. However, EPA has now put into question the legality of non-road vehicles modified to become racecars. The EPA’s proposed expansion of authority demonstrates the agency’s willingness to resort to backdoor and secretive means to push its agenda. This overreach has the potential to result in billions of dollars in enforcement penalties simply for the production of items that have been legally used by amateur racers for years. It will stifle technological advances in this field and cause the loss of many American jobs.
For the first time, the EPA seeks to enforce the Clean Air Act on vehicles that have been legally de-registered so they can be modified for use in racing competitions. EPA officials buried this new provision in a proposed rule on emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks - a regulation that is unrelated to vehicles modified for racing. The specialty equipment automotive aftermarket employs over one million Americans across the nation representing nearly $1.4 billion in sales of racing related products annually.
“In addition to the major raceways throughout our country, there are thousands of local tracks that would be devastated by this new regulation," said Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk. "For example, the Dixie Speedway in my district in Woodstock, Georgia, is a popular community track that brings in 150,000 visitors a year. If the EPA uses this regulation to dismantle the race equipment manufacturing industry, drivers at tracks like these would be unable to find many of the parts that they need for their race cars. If the Dixie Speedway was to go out of business, our community would lose tremendous amounts of commercial activity, tourism, and recreation that have been part of our local economy and culture since the Speedway opened in 1968. What is most frustrating to me is the secretive manner that the EPA attempted to sneak in this clarification of authority – they deliberatively did this under the radar of the American people.”
At the hearing, Deputy Majority Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) testified on a bill he introduced, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (H.R. 4715), to prevent the EPA from taking action on amateur racing under the Clean Air Act.
The following witnesses also testified:
Mr. Christopher Kersting, President and CEO, Specialty Equipment Marketing Association
Mr. Ralph Sheheen, Managing Partner and President, National Speed Sports News
Mr. Brent Yacobucci, Section Research Manager, Energy and Minerals Section, Congressional Research Service
For more information on the hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.