Greenlight the RPM Act: A Recap and Call for Support of Needed Legislation
A lot has happened since December, when we first learned of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would effectively outlaw conversion of street cars into race cars. We filed opposition comments later that month. We then met with agency officials in January asking the EPA to reconsider their position. When that failed, we alerted the public in February.
On February 9, SEMA launched a petition to the White House opposing the EPA position. Within 24 hours, more than 100,000 individuals had signed the petition, and a total of nearly 170,000 signatures were ultimately gathered prior to the petition deadline. A range of media outlets picked up the call to action and communicated with their readerships. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Congress got involved.
In March, H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act) was introduced to preserve the right to convert street vehicles for competition under the Clean Air Act. Shortly thereafter, a companion bill (S. 2659) was introduced in the Senate. At the time of this writing, more than 50 congressional representatives had signed on to co-sponsor the House bill and eight to the Senate bill. The legislation seeks to clarify that Congress never intended for race cars to be covered by the Clean Air Act and that it has always been legal to modify a street vehicle for use in competition.
In March, I had the opportunity to testify before the U.S. House Science Oversight Subcommittee on the issue and thanked our allies in Congress for introducing the RPM Act on behalf of the hundreds of manufacturers that make racing parts and the many thousands of enthusiasts at all levels. Members of Congress also brought pressure on the EPA, culminating in a letter to the EPA from House Energy & Commerce Chairman Fred Upton on April 12.
Then, on April 15, the EPA announced that it would withdraw its proposed rulemaking pertaining to converted race vehicles. The agency noted that it was responding to the substantial opposition voiced by enthusiasts, industry and Congress.
A positive development? Yes, very positive, and we commend and thank all who helped accomplish this step. However, the matter is far from resolved. The EPA has not retreated from its position that the Clean Air Act renders illegal the conversion of street cars for use in racing. And that includes banning the marketing and sale of parts and equipment in such conversions.
And that’s where your continued efforts are critical. This matter can only be resolved with straightforward legislation—the RPM Act—so that the EPA can no longer call into question the legality of this activity. The team here at SEMA is assembling like-minded stakeholders who support the history and tradition of American motorsports—racing organizations, auto makers, trade associations, the media, enthusiast groups and SEMA industry members—to make sure Congress knows that this issue matters and requires the RPM Act to provide certainty in how the Clean Air Act is applied.
In short, a lot of great work has been done so far. Many members of Congress have voiced support for the RPM Act. However, many on Capitol Hill are still unaware of or undecided about the bill. An easy way for you to take action is to send a letter to your congressional representatives seeking their support for the RPM Act. And then use your social-media channels and any available company communication channels to urge others to do the same.
SEMA has provided a quick and easy means to dash off your letter. Simply visit www.sema.org/rpm. The future of racing and the industry that supports it depends on each of you helping to make this campaign a success!