AG Strange: New EPA Rule Would Hurt Alabama’s Racing Economy

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Modified Volkswagen Bug

Alabama is joining eight other states petitioning the federal government to drop a proposal banning the modification of street vehicles into off-road race cars.

Attorney General Luther Strange announced he is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a proposed change to the Clean Air Act.

The new rule would forbid the modification of certified motor vehicles, engines and emission control devices even if they were used solely for competition or non-road vehicles.

Strange calls the proposed rule an example of federal overreach, and says it will hurt Alabama’s car racing business and culture.

“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,” says Strange.

“In Alabama and across the country, modifying race cars is a popular pastime and a significant contributor to the economy,” Strange continues.  “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.”

In a statement to Road And Track, EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen clarified the federal government’s language.

“People may use EPA-certified motor vehicles for competition, but to protect public health from air pollution, the Clean Air Act has – since its inception – specifically prohibited tampering with or defeating the emission control systems on those vehicles,” Allen says. “The proposed regulation does not change this long-standing law, or approach.”

“Instead, the proposed language in the Heavy-Duty Greenhouse Gas rulemaking simply clarifies the distinction between motor vehicles and nonroad vehicles such as dirt bikes and snowmobiles.  Unlike motor vehicles – which include cars, light trucks, and highway motorcycles – nonroad vehicles may, under certain circumstances, be modified for use in competitive events in ways that would otherwise be prohibited by the Clean Air Act,” says Allen.

Other states calling for an end to this proposal are Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and West Virginia.