Tom’s Take: Call or Write Now! SEMA’s RPM Act Back on the Docket!

Fucking EPA 4The Environmental Protection Agency has become one of the most powerful departments in the federal government. There is an upside to the EPA — clean air! As I mentioned in a previous op ed about this topic, “without a doubt, anyone who lived in smog-choked California in the 1960s and 1970s can testify to the positive effects of legislation and clean air initiatives by the Agency.”

However, I have a problem with any kind of overreach. The EPA is the perfect example of “too much of a good thing” gone seriously bad.

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The EPA has gathered a head of steam, in the past 30 years and has over-regulated many industries to the point of putting them out of business. Guess what else? THEY HATE RACECARS! Most of them hate cars in general. Two years ago, they tried to put the entire automotive after-market out of business with a single paragraph in a piece of clean air legislation. “Prohibit the conversion of emissions-certified vehicles into racecars and to make it illegal to sell any emissions-related parts for those cars.” A $37,500 fine for each infraction was proposed.

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Thank goodness for Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association — or SEMA as we know them. Not only do they bring together the entire industry under one happy family, they are also a very powerful lobby in Washington — and state governments too. SEMA has protected the automotive after-market industry and the family of enthusiasts for the past 50 years.

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As of January 24, 2017, the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives in reintroducing the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017 (RPM Act). The bipartisan bill (H.R.350/S.203) 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.

It is imperative that we, as a car culture, band together and assure passage of this critical piece of legislation. The specialty equipment automotive aftermarket employs about one million Americans across all 50 states. Current retail sales of racing products make up a $1.4 billion annual market. The EPA continues to claim that it has the authority to regulate street cars modified exclusively for the track. Only clarifying legislation will confirm that such activity is legal and beyond the reach of future EPA regulations. The RPM Act is cosponsored by 14 members of the U.S. Senate. The bill ensures that transforming motor vehicles into racecars used exclusively in competition does not violate the Clean Air Act.

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Passage of the RPM Act is critical. The bill is the only way to permanently protect Americans’ right to modify street cars and motorcycles into dedicated race vehicles, along with industry’s right to sell race and performance parts. It’s imperative that those in the motorsports community contact their lawmakers about this bill.

SEMA President & CEO Chris Kersting pleaded, “We call on the entire enthusiast community to again reach out to their federal lawmakers to request support for the bill. The RPM Act is the only solution that will ensure that this time-honored tradition and livelihood for millions of Americans will be preserved for generations to come.”

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As I have said before, the EPA has it’s rightful place — just stay the heck out of our race shops! CALL OR WRITE YOUR LAWMAKERS TODAY!   SEMA made it easy. Just click here and sign the petition.

About the author

Tom Stahler

At eight months of age, Tom Stahler sat in a baby stroller in Thunder Valley and watched Chuck Parsons and Skip Scott win the 1968 Road America 500. He has had the car bug ever since. He has won several awards, including the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and the International Motor Press Association's Gold Medal for his writing and photography. When not chasing the next story, Tom drives in vintage road racing events.
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