Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is calling on federal environmental authorities to drop a proposal that would stop off-road racing hobbyists from removing or reconfiguring emissions control devices on modified street vehicles.
Strange joined Attorneys General from seven other states in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking her not to implement the proposed rule, saying it would effectively stall the industry related to conversion of street vehicles to racing vehicles.
“In another example of federal bureaucrats seeking to expand their regulatory reach, the EPA is pushing a proposed change to the federal Clean Air Act to effectively prohibit street vehicles from being converted into off-road race cars,” said Strange.
Strange said the move by regulators, if implemented, would be an economic blow to mechanics and parts suppliers who participate in the cottage industry of car modification.
“In Alabama and across the country, modifying race cars is a popular pastime and a significant contributor to the economy,” said Strange. “In 2014, $36 billion was spent nationally on automotive specialty equipment parts and accessories. Off-road racing parts businesses which sell their products in Alabama and elsewhere, as well as local racetracks, would be adversely affected by the implementation of the new EPA rule.”
The proposed rule mandates that “Certified motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines and their emission control devices must remain in their certified configuration even if they are used solely for competition or if they become non-road vehicles or engines.”
The letter from Strange and the other attorneys general claims the EPA rule change is contrary to existing statute, and conflicts with the expressed intent of Congress not to subject race cars to the same federal emission standards as street vehicles.
According to Strange, potecting race cars from emissions requirements was such a concern when Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 that Alabama Congressman Bill Nichols – who represented Talladega, the notorious hometown of Deep South auto racing – specifically asked that the environmental reform law not penalize “vehicles and vehicle engines manufactured for, modified for or utilized in organized motorized racing events.”
The other state joining Strange were Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and West Virginia, all states with Republican attorneys general.