Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Cosponsors Racecar Emission Act

RPM Act would block EPA from regulating modified vehicles used for racing

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Washington, March 8, 2016 | Riley Brands ((202) 226-0507) | comments
Yesterday Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) originally cosponsored Congressman Patrick McHenry’s (R-NC-10) H.R. 4715, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016, or RPM Act, which blocks attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate modified motor vehicles used for racing. Joining Cuellar and McHenry was Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC-8).

For decades, automotive enthusiasts have modified street vehicles into race cars used exclusively at closed race tracks. Recently, the EPA has issued a proposed rule that would make it illegal for this practice to continue via the Clean Air Act. However, Congress never intended for race cars to be subject to the Clean Air Act. The RPM Act would simply confirm that race cars are exempt from EPA regulation via the Clean Air Act.

“Recently, the EPA negatively impacted business activity in my district and across the country by implementing a Clean Power Plan and new ozone standards that do not take into account the costs or economic impacts of implementation,” Congressman Cuellar said. “Now we are seeing the agency attempt to subvert the clear implication of the Clean Air Act that racecars should not be subject to emissions standards. Our legislation will continue the decades-long application of existing law and require the EPA to apply the law as passed, not in any way it chooses.”

“The EPA has placed onerous regulations on nearly every aspect of our economy – from energy production to agriculture – and now they are coming after Americans’ hobbies,” said Congressman McHenry. “For years my constituents have been free to modify vehicles for competitive use on closed tracks without government interference. The RPM Act will ensure that continues by blocking this EPA overreach, allowing motorsports enthusiasts in North Carolina and across the country to continue this time-honored tradition.”

“Regulations that waste our money, time and resources are bad for jobs, but the EPA is going one step further to restrict our personal freedom,” said Congressman Hudson. “Even if I didn’t represent Charlotte Motor Speedway and a whole lot of racing enthusiasts, I would be outraged by this ridiculous government overreach. This legislation is a critical step to protect the way of life for many and ensure the future of racing. We’re not just going to sound the alarm on this – we’re going to stop it.”

BACKGROUND: The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to regulate motor vehicles but these regulations have never applied to race cars. In 1990, Congress affirmed this exemption when it authorized the EPA to regulate “non-road vehicles” and explicitly excluded any “vehicle used solely for competition” from the non-road definition. Despite the clear intent of Congress, the EPA's proposed rule attempts to amend the Clean Air Act. H.R. 4715 simply confirms that it would not be considered tampering to modify these vehicles for exclusive track use.

Converting a motor vehicle into a race car is a significant part of American automotive heritage with the practice having played a large role in the foundation of NASCAR. Additionally, the specialty automotive industry employs over 1 million Americans. Companies that manufacture, distribute, and sell products that improve race vehicle performance are a large and growing part of our economy.
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