Hudson questions EPA on proposed racing rule (Update)

UPDATE The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it plans to remove wording from a proposed bill that led to many in the racing industry thinking the EPA was trying to ban street-to-race car conversions.

The wording was hidden inside a 629-page proposal that the EPA released last June meant to cut carbon emissions in medium- and heavy-duty trucks. In February the Specialty Equipment Market Ass’n caught wind of the rule and began petitioning to have the wording removed.

The EPA has since received numerous public comments against the proposed rule.

SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting said that while the EPA has withdrawn the proposal, there is still work to be done. SEMA is supporting the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act), 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).

The RPM Act will address any doubts regarding regulation of race cars and give the public and race car industry much-needed certainty regarding how the Clean Air Act is applied.

“We want to thank Congress for pushing EPA to withdraw an ill-conceived proposal," said Kersting. “However, confusion reigns: the agency continues to assert new-found authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate modification of vehicles for use in competition. This means that those converting and racing competition vehicles, and the parts and services industries that support them, do so under new EPA policy that considers the activity illegal. Only clarifying legislation, such as that offered under the RPM Act, will confirm that such activity is legal and beyond the reach of future EPA regulations. The racing industry and public need a long-term solution to eliminate any uncertainty regarding how the Clean Air Act is interpreted."

03/25/16 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), representative of Charlotte Motor Speedway and Rockingham Dragway and co-author of legislation to combat EPA overreach into motorsports, questioned EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the EPA’s proposed racing regulation.

See below for excerpts from the hearing. Watch full video

Rep. Hudson: "NASCAR is one facet, but what about your man or woman who likes to take a car in their backyard and fix it up and take it down to the local drag strip and race it? I mean that kind of modification it appears very clearly is now ruled out."

Administrator McCarthy: "Well we have never ever enforced on an individual of that nature. What we’re trying to do is get at manufacturers of these devices that they sell and make sure that they sell them only for competitive dedicated vehicles because it’s really challenging to us to make sure that the certified vehicles remain in compliance with air regulations."


Rep. Hudson: "Well I appreciate what you’re saying, but it says here, ‘emission control devices must remain in their certified configuration even if they’re used solely for competition.’ The rule sounds different from what you’re explaining."

Administrator McCarthy: "We’ll do the very best we can. We actually have… we’ve had substantial amounts of discussion. Whatever we can do to clarify this we’re going to be able to take those steps."


Administrator McCarthy: "I know that what I have told you is what our intent was. We will make sure that the language matches that."

Rep. Hudson: "I certainly appreciate that because not only is this an important part of the way of life for a lot of Americans who enjoy taking cars and modifying them so they can race, but it’s a billion dollar industry of aftermarket folks who make parts for people to use in competition. I remember back in February you testified before the committee and you made the point that, ‘Not one EPA regulation has ever cost one job.’ Well I’m telling you this is a billion dollar industry that will be wiped out if we can’t clarify this and make sure the intent you’ve expressed is reflected in the regulation."

Background
Yesterday, members of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held a joint hearing to examine EPA’s 2017 budget with Administrator McCarthy as the sole witness. Members discussed funding priorities, enforcement activities and major changes to the budget with the goal of eliminating inefficiencies.

On March 8, Rep. Hudson joined Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (NC-10) to introduce the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (H.R. 4715) to stop the EPA’s proposed racing regulation. Proposed EPA rule

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