EPA drops controversial wording that appeared to ban street-modified race cars

EPA drops controversial wording that appeared to ban street-modified race cars

The EPA is dropping a controversial clause in proposed legislation that, according to opponents, would have banned the conversion of street cars into race cars.

The regulation was a clarification of existing EPA rules, restated as part of a new set of rules governing heavy- and medium-duty trucks proposed in June 2015. However, its wording raised concerns among car owners that the agency sought to make illegal any modifications to emissions equipment, a common and necessary practice when building cars for track duty.

The phrases in question were discovered by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA) in February of this year, and brought to the attention of the automotive press, creating an outcry among automotive enthusiasts and racers both amateur and professional. When reading the clause, it becomes clear why the imprecise wording was worrisome: “EPA is proposing … to clarify that the Clean Air Act does not allow any person to disable, remove, or render inoperative (i.e., tamper with) emission controls on a certified motor vehicle for purposes of competition.”

However, on Friday the EPA issued a statement saying “The proposed language in the July 2015 proposal was never intended to represent any change in the law or in EPA’s policies or practices towards dedicated competition vehicles… Since our attempt to clarify led to confusion, EPA has decided to eliminate the proposed language from the final rule.”

It appears that race cars are safe once again, but it just goes to show how little lawmakers think about or understand the concerns of car enthusiasts, race car builders, and drivers.

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