The United States Environmental Protection Agency wishes to ban the modification of street cars for exclusive track use. SEMA members and the racing community just told them where to stick it!
Last week, members of SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and your’s truly, was informed of the E.P.A(Environmental Protection) agency’s proposal to ban the modification of street vehicles for dedicated track use. The notification resulted in an unprecedented timely response from members, and the racing community, resulting in the generation of a petition to the president of the United States.
While I’m not aware of the full scope of the resulting impact of the proposed ban on the racing community, the message was clear — my affordable alternative to armature and professionally sanctioned auto racing is in jeopardy, if in fact, the E.P.A. moves forward with the initiative unopposed.
As stated by SEMA in a Thursday press release: Members of SEMA and the racing community quickly united in the protest of a proposal that they believed would effectively make all of us that hit the track on any given weekend ‘outlaws’.
As the E.P.A. quickly retorted with an accusation of “overreaction” as to the racing communities justified concerns, while claiming that the government would not enforce the proposed legislation against professional and armature sanction racing, 149,000 concerned citizens stepped up and signed a petition to overturn the proposal directed to president Barack Obama.
According to SEMA: “SEMA is pleased with the enormous response we’ve seen in opposition to this proposed regulation,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. Noting that some of the media coverage has characterized SEMA’s opposition as an overreaction, Kersting added, “Despite EPA’s statements that the agency does not intend to enforce the law against race-car owners, the agency is, in fact, writing new law into the regulations. As a result, if this proposal is finalized, the racing community and parts makers would forevermore be operating outside of that law and could be targeted for enforcement at a future date. We don’t consider it an overreaction to try to prevent this new interpretation from becoming law.”
Furthermore: “In more than 46 years since the Clean Air Act was passed, SEMA is unaware of a single instance of the EPA taking the position that regulations pertaining to street vehicles also apply to vehicles that are removed from the road and converted for race-use-only purposes. “Given that this issue is shaping up as a matter of interpretation of the Clean Air Act, a clear statutory exemption in the law may be necessary for vehicles used solely for racing, whether converted from street vehicles or purpose built,” Kersting continued. “Accordingly, SEMA is working closely with its congressional allies who agree that the Clean Air Act does not support EPA’s new interpretation of the statute.”
You may find the petition here. For me, this is a great example of people driven, social media generated active political activism.