FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Page 1 of 1
ALABAMA ONE OF EIGHT STATES CALLING ON EPA TO DROP PROPOSED
RULE EFFECTIVELY BLOCKING CONVERSION OF
STREET VEHICLES TO OFF-ROAD RACE CARS
(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has joined Attorneys General
from seven other states in calling on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to drop a proposal to
effectively stall the conversion of street vehicles to off-road racing.
“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 Attorney General Strange.
“In Alabama and across the country, modifying race cars is a popular pastime and a significant
contributor to the economy. 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 new 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 Attorney General Strange and the other attorneys general points out the EPA rule
change is contrary to the law and conflicts with the expressed intent of Congress not to subject
race cars to the same federal emission standards as street vehicles.
Protecting race cars from onerous emissions requirements was such a concern when Congress
passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 that Alabama Congressman Bill Nichols, who represented
Talladega, specifically asked that the Act not penalize “vehicles and vehicle engines
manufactured for, modified for or utilized in organized motorized racing events.”
Alabama joined Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and West Virginia, in
calling on EPA Administrator McCarthy to remove the provision from 629-pages of proposed
new regulations on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
Letter is attached to release
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
April 1, 2016
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
Re: Docket: EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827; NHTSA-2014-0132 Comments: Proposed Rule:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines
and Vehicles – Phase 2: Vehicles Used Solely in Competition (RIN 2060-AS16)
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
As the chief legal officers of our states, we write to express our concerns about a conflict with
the federal Clean Air Act found within the provisions of the 629-page rule referenced above,
which states: “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 nonroad vehicles or engines.”
As proposed, this rule attempts to expand the USEPA’s statutory jurisdiction under the Clean Air
Act to cover vehicles modified solely for racing or competition. This approach is contrary to the
law and would reverse decades of practice by the USEPA. This unnecessary regulation conflicts
with the expressed intent of Congress, and we urge you to remedy this problem in the final rule
by deleting the provision quoted above.
Throughout the United States, modifying and racing cars is one of our nation’s pastimes. It is
also a large part of our country’s economy. In 2014, consumers spent $36 billion on automotive
specialty equipment parts and accessories. All over the U.S., manufacturers, retailers, and
technicians represent tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. This proposed rule would
purport to make many of the products made, sold, and installed by those businesses illegal,
dealing a heavy blow to our economy.
While the federal Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to everyday motor vehicles used
on public roads, statutory language and the USEPA’s historic practice have made it clear that
vehicles built or modified for racing purposes, and not used on public streets, are not regulated
under the Clean Air Act.
For example, 42 U.S.C. ß 7550(2) limits the definition of a covered “motor vehicle” to a vehicle
designed for transport “on a street or highway” as opposed to operation on a racetrack.
Correspondingly, 42 U.S.C. ß 7550(10) limits the term “nonroad engine” to an engine “that is
not used in a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition,” while 42 U.S.C. ß 7550(11)
makes clear that the term “nonroad vehicle” also does not apply to “a motor vehicle or a vehicle
used solely for competition.”
Congress did not make these choices at random. It intended to differentiate between a vehicle
covered by this sort of rule and “a vehicle used solely for competition.” In fact, the House
Committee on Foreign and Interstate Commerce identified and discussed this issue before
passing the Clean Air Act in 1970:
MR. NICHOLS. I would like to ask a question of the chairman, if I may.
I am sure the distinguished chairman would recognize and agree with me, I hope, that many
automobile improvements in the efficiency and safety of motor vehicles have resulted from
experience gained in operating motor vehicles under demanding circumstances such as
those circumstances encountered in motor racing. I refer to the tracks as Talladega in my
own State, to Daytona and Indianapolis, competition. I would ask the distinguished
chairman if I am correct in stating that the terms “vehicle” and “vehicle engine” as used in
the act do not include vehicles or vehicle engines manufactured for, modified for or utilized
in organized motorized racing events which, of course, are held very infrequently but
which utilize all types of vehicles and vehicle engines?
MR. STAGGERS. In response to the gentleman from Alabama, I would say to the gentleman
they would not come under the provisions of this act, because the act deals only with
automobiles used on our roads in everyday use. The act would not cover the types of racing
vehicles to which the gentleman referred, and present law does not cover them either .
Statutory language and legislative history clearly show that vehicles used solely for competition,
including a race vehicle that has been converted from a certified highway vehicle, are not
regulated under the Clean Air Act. While the USEPA is authorized to create regulations that
interpret laws passed by Congress, the agency cannot rewrite statutory definitions and – as the
United States Supreme Court has made clear – “must always give effect to the unambiguously
expressed intent of Congress.”
House Consideration of the Report of the Conference Committee, Dec. 18, 1970 (reprinted in A legislative history
of the Clean air amendments of 1970, together with a section-by-section index, U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY DIVISION, Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Serial No. 93-18, 1974, p. 117).
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency 573 U. S. __ (2014), quoting National Assn.
of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife, 551 U. S. 644, 665.
On behalf of the undersigned states, we strongly urge the USEPA to remove the aforementioned
language referencing vehicles “used solely for competition” from the final rule. Not only is this
language inconsistent with the federal Clean Air Act, but any purported benefit from this change
would pale in comparison to the economic damage caused by this regulation.
Mike DeWine Patrick Morrisey Leslie Rutledge
Attorney General Attorney General Attorney General
State of Ohio State of West Virginia State of Arkansas
Luther Strange Jeff Landry Bill Schuette
Attorney General Attorney General Attorney General
State of Alabama State of Louisiana State of Michigan
Sam Olens Adam P. Laxalt
Attorney General Attorney General
State of Georgia State of Nevada