For the amateur racing industry, the year started out on a strong note. One of the first bills to be introduced in the newly indoctrinated 115th session of Congress was the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017 (RPM Act). U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) reintroduced H.R. 350 which protects Americans’ right to modify street cars and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles and industry’s right to sell the parts that enable racers to compete.
The same measure was introduced during the last legislative session and though it ultimately didn’t see floor time, it had broad bipartisan support with over 100 supporters in the House of Representatives and dozens in the U.S. Senate. This year, H.R.350 started out with 61 cosponsors with those numbers already increasing as additional supporters begin to sign on.
Rep. McHenry released a statement with the introduction of the bill, “Last year, I was proud to lead the fight against the misguided EPA regulation targeting racing, but our work is not done,” said the Congressman. “In the coming months, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the new Administration to ensure the RPM Act becomes law.”
The RPM Act came to fruition after the EPA proposed a rule to establish Phase 2 regulations for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2015. Within the 625-page rulemaking was one sentence that would have the effect of banning any conversion of street automobiles or motorcycles into racing vehicles. The language pertaining to race-modified street vehicles and motorcycles was included seemingly at random within a huge proposal having to do with cutting emissions from heavy- and medium-duty trucks. However, it would effectively outlaw part of the amateur car and motorcycle racing industry.
In April of 2016, the EPA announced that, under pressure from Congress, it would drop the language from its proposed regulations. However, despite the EPA’s announcement, spokespersons from the Agency are still stating that the clarification does not affect EPA’s enforcement authority. This shows the clear intent of the EPA to attempt to overstep its bounds, as outlined by the Clean Air Act, in an effort to strip motorcyclists of the rights to modify their motorcycles as they see fit.
Supporters of the RPM Act will provide clarity to industry and enthusiasts that the Clean Air Act allows motor vehicles, including motorcycles, to be converted into dedicated race vehicles.