WASHINGTON, DC – It was a one-two punch for motorcycle and race car enthusiasts during the month of January. Following the January 6th introduction by the House of Representatives, the Senate released its version, (S.203) of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2017 (RPM Act). Introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the bill already has a number of supporters from both political parties. Similarly, the House version (HR.350) has 73 supporters though this number grows by the day.
Like the version pending in the House, the Senate bill ensures that transforming motor vehicles, including motorcycles, into race cars or racing bikes used exclusively in competition does not violate the Clean Air Act. The issue came to a head when EPA officials insisted that they have the authority to regulate the racing industry according to the Clean Air Act. The RPM Act would clarify that the Clean Air Act does indeed allow motor vehicles, including motorcycles, to be converted into dedicated race vehicles without fear of EPA penalties or enforcement action.
Similar bills surfaced last year but ultimately fell short of passage before the 114th Congress adjourned in December of 2016. Proponents of the amateur racing industry and others including the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, and the Specialty Equipment Market Association have included passage of the RPM Act as one of their key priorities in the 2017 legislative season. Both organizations among several others were listed as supporters on Senator Burr’s press release on S.203:
“The Clean Air Act was never intended to allow the EPA to regulate race cars or motorcycles,” said Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. “This is, unfortunately, yet another example of an agency’s overreach.”
Over 200,000 letters were sent last year to Congress in support of passage of the RPM Act last year. The bills will now go through the legislative process in which many are hopeful the proposals will cross the finish line.