Law & Order

MERCURY USED IN AUTO SWITCHES SUBJECT TO NEW REGULATION

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will now require at least 90 days advance notice from anybody who intends to manufacture, import or process mercury for use in aftermarket auto products. While the automakers are now using chemical substitutes, mercury is still found in some switches for aftermarket products, such as lighting equipment and antilock braking systems. The mercury can be subsequently released into the environment as the vehicle and its parts are dismantled, recycled and scrapped. The EPA rule applies to elemental mercury in the following uses:

SEMA RECOMMENDS REALISTIC EPA RULE WHEN SPRAYING WITH METALLIC PAINTS

Working with member companies and several other trade associations, SEMA submitted extensive comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to regulate certain paint-surface coating operations at the local level. In general, SEMA and the other association’s support the rule, in which the EPA backed away from regulating paints that contain heavy metals (hazardous air pollutants or HAP) at the retail level.

SO MANY CARS, SO FEW VINS

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to change the way a manufacturer assigns the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to make sure there is a nearly endless number of possible combinations. The VIN is a grouping of 17 digits and letters unique to every car and truck in the United States but the current supply is shrinking (VIN positions: 1–3 identify manufacturer, 4–8 vehicle attributes, 9 accuracy code, 10 model year, 11 manufacturing plant, 12–17 sequential production numbers).

FEDS ADJUST BRAKE HOSE RULE—AGAIN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing to clarify the performance and test requirements of the brake hose standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 106. The NHTSA revised the standard in 2004 to make it consistent with the most current requirements adopted by the Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE). The changes take effect on December 20, 2007, and relate to hydraulic, vacuum, and air brake hoses, plastic air brake tubing and end fittings. For further information:

CONGRESSIONAL LEADER PROPOSES CARBON TAX

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced a plan to control global warming emissions by raising taxes on carbon-based fuels, such as gasoline. The proposal calls for a $.50 cents per gallon tax hike for gasoline, a tax of $50 on every ton of carbon released from coal and petroleum sources, and a phase-out of the mortgage tax deduction for homes bigger than 3,000 square feet.  "A carbon tax is going to carry with it a lot of pain," Dingell said.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CLOSE 100,000 ACRES TO OHV USE IN UTAH

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced the closure of approximately 100,000 acres in the Indian Creek Corridor of San Juan County, Utah. While OHV use will be permitted on existing roads and trails, all “cross-country” OHV activity within the designated area is prohibited. This closure will remain in effect until the BLM completes a review of its existing management plan for OHV use in San Juan County.    

BILL TO BAN THE SALE/INSTALLATION OF AFTERMARKET EXHAUST SYSTEMS TO BE CONSIDERED BY MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEE ON OCT. 2

A bill to ban the sale or installation of "an exhaust system which has been modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the exhaust” will be considered by the Massachusetts Joint Transportation Committee on October 2. The bill excludes limited-use “antique motor cars” from its scope, a clear attempt by the bill’s sponsors to divide the automobile hobby in an effort to gain clearer sailing for this restrictive and damaging piece of legislation. 

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