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EPA raids on car and motorcycle shops would be halted under House bill

July 6, 2021
In The News

The Environmental Protection Agency couldn't issue fines on or raid vehicle modification shops under bipartisan legislation moving through the House.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, and Rep. Raul Ruiz, a California Democrat, are pushing the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act, or the RPM Act, which aims to detail what the motor sports industry can and can't do in selling aftermarket parts. The bill also would provide a right to modify street vehicles into racing cars.

The industry has been under threat from the EPA since 2015, when the agency proposed making it illegal to modify street vehicles for racing purposes. It's a practice that motor enthusiasts have engaged in for over 45 years since the passage of the Clean Air Act.

However, the proposal was withdrawn in April 2016 after lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, questioned Gina McCarthy, then the EPA administrator, over the rule.

Although the EPA withdrew the proposal, the agency has since continued to declare that street vehicles can not be modified into race cars. Advocates of the RPM Act, first introduced in 2016, say the Clean Air Act does not apply to street vehicles that have been converted into race cars used solely for competition.

“The RPM Act is a commonsense bill to support automotive enthusiasts and the motorsports industry that is critical to our economy and communities across the country,” Hudson told the Washington Examiner in a statement. “As a cosponsor and member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am working with leadership to advance the bill in our committee. With bipartisan support, I am hopeful the RPM Act will be marked up soon and brought up for a full vote in Congress.”

The bill has 82 co-sponsors, 10 more than the last time McHenry introduced the legislation, and 20 Democrats signed on. The motor sports industry is a multibillion-dollar business, and many of the lawmakers have aftermarket vehicle modification shops as well as racetracks in their districts, including Ruiz, whose district includes communities east of Los Angeles.