By now, most gearheads are likely aware of the EPA’s proposed regulations on vehicle modification and aftermarket products. From SAN’s outcry against the proposal in December to the RPM Act introduced in March, the back and forth between the SEMA Action Network (SAN) and the EPA has been sending ripples through the automotive community for months. And all the while, we the enthusiasts have been left here with fingers crossed as to what the outcome will be.
However, the SEMA Action Network has been hard at work protecting our passion. As we discovered a couple of days ago, their relentless efforts to combat the proposal – as well as the gearhead community’s collective effort by signing the White House petition – have resulted in Congress forcing the EPA to remove the anti-race car clause.While a reassuring victory no doubt, there are still concerns that the EPA will retaliate with further regulation on modification and the aftermarket. As SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting expressed in a statement, “The agency continues to assert new-found authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate modification of vehicles for use in competition. This means that those converting and racing competition vehicles, and the parts and services industries that support them, do so under new EPA policy that considers the activity illegal. Only clarifying legislation, such as that offered under the RPM Act, will confirm that such activity is legal and beyond the reach of future EPA regulations.”
As Kersting addressed, the RPM Act is absolutely paramount to curbing the EPA’s overreach. Fortunately, Congressman Tim Ryan – US Representative of the 13th District of Ohio and avid supporter of the gearhead way of life – understands this.
On April 11th, Congressman Ryan paid a visit to the Summit Racing Equipment headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio to discuss the entire issue at hand – from the RPM Act (which he himself co-sponsored) to the EPA’s proposed regulations to the implications they have on the automotive lifestyle.
Upon arrival, he told Summit, “I came here to learn more about this. When I go back to Washington tomorrow, we can begin to start pushing this. I’m completely committed.” He spoke both privately with Summit Racing’s management as well as in a company-wide address, promising to do everything within his power to ensure the RPM Act goes through.
He stated in his address, “My staff is already working on this. We’re all for clean air and we’re all for clean water, but sometimes when something happens in Washington and a rule comes down and hits the ground, it has some effects that don’t make a whole lot of sense. As I have learned, it’s all about the grassroots racer. If they can’t race, we have a lot of people that are going to be without work.”
Thanks to the face-to-face exposure that Summit Racing was able to give him, Congressman Ryan now has both a personal understanding and connection to our automotive world. That, paired with his position of authority and ability to drive progress, makes him a potent ally in the fight for our automotive freedom – one we’re certainly grateful to have on our side.