Advocacy

Senate Bill S. 2602- Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM)

The following is a response from Arizona’s Senator Kyrsten Sinema to one of our club members who contacted her as part of AMA’s “Take Action” initiative.  In her letter, Senator Sinema shares her perspective on the benefit of the proposed bill to protect affordable motorized recreation.

Dear Mr. XXXX:

Thank you for contacting me about the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act. I always appreciate hearing from Arizonans about issues facing our state and country. It is important that we have conversations about topics that matter to you and your family, and I hope you will continue to reach out to me and share your perspectives and suggestions.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency charged with protecting human health and the environment. The Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act of 1965 and the Clean Air Act of 1970 established federal standards to limit vehicle emissions. These laws prohibit drivers from tampering with or removing vehicle emission controls, and authorize the EPA to fine drivers found to be in violation of the law. Both laws contain an exemption from emission and tampering limitations for cars manufactured exclusively for racing.

 

On July 13, 2015, the EPA proposed updated Clean Air Act regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Included in these regulatory changes was a proposal to extend the existing prohibition on removing or tampering with vehicle emission controls to nonroad vehicles, which could allow the EPA to fine amateur race car drivers who convert road vehicles into racing vehicles. After receiving public comment from amateur race car drivers concerned about the implication of this proposed change, the EPA finalized the regulatory updates on April 15, 2016 without changing the regulations for nonroad vehicles. While the EPA chose to forgo subjecting amateur motorsports enthusiasts to federal emissions regulations, some remain concerned the EPA may attempt to do so in the future.

 

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced S. 2602, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, on October 16, 2019. S. 2602 allows motor vehicle owners to convert their road vehicles into racing vehicles without subjecting themselves to EPA fines or other enforcement actions. Supporters of S. 2602 point to the long history of amateur mechanics and racing enthusiasts converting street vehicles into racing vehicles, and argue such modifications made for racing have negligible effects on overall vehicle emissions. Opponents of the bill worry that creating loopholes in federal vehicle emissions regulations could allow drivers to more easily evade federal emissions regulations. S. 2602 was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where it may be considered. I am a cosponsor of S. 2602.

 

I recognize the importance of addressing global climate change and believe we can reduce emissions as we responsibly develop our energy resources. I support the EPA’s efforts to modernize vehicle emission regulations to promote efficiency and reduce emissions. I am also concerned that regulations like those proposed in 2015 threaten to unnecessarily punish amateur motorsports enthusiasts. Arizona is home to many motorsports enthusiasts and has a rich tradition of amateur racing. I cosponsored the RPM Act to guarantee that the EPA cannot infringe on a responsible individual’s hobbies or passions. I am committed to continue working with my colleagues to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to reduce vehicle emissions and address the real challenges of global climate change.

 

Thank you for sharing your view on this issue with me. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any future questions or comments. Additionally, if you would like to stay connected to our office with the latest news, legislation, and other useful information, please visit our website, sinema.senate.gov.

                    Sincerely,

Signature

Kyrsten Sinema
United States Senator

F.S. releases Draft Policy

ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USE IN NATIONAL FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2004 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service today released its proposal for managing motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in national forests and grasslands, which will enhance recreational opportunities for the public and better protect the environment by requiring units to establish a designated system of roads, trails and areas.

“OHVs are a great way to experience the national forests, but because their popularity has increased in recent years, we need an approach that will sustain natural resource values through more effective management of motor vehicle use. The benefits of improving OHV use include enhanced protection of habitat and aquatic, soil, air and cultural resources,” said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. “The Forest Service wants to improve its management by balancing the public’s enjoyment of using OHVs with ensuring the best possible care of the land.”

In 2002, national forests and grasslands had more than 214 million visits. Nationally, the number of OHV users climbed sevenfold in the last 30 years–from five million in 1972 to 36 million in 2000. OHV users account for about 1.8 million or five percent of visitors to national forests and grasslands. Currently, each of the 155 national forests and 21 grasslands has guidelines regarding OHV use, with some national forests managing use on a designated system of roads, trails and areas, while other do not. As a result, the Forest Service does not have a clear, consistent policy regarding motor vehicle use on national forests and grasslands.

The proposed rule represents a nationally consistent approach to travel management by requiring each forest and grassland to designate a system of roads, trails and areas slated for motor vehicle use. It would allow national forests to denote use of routes and areas by vehicle type and, if appropriate, by time of year. Once the designation process is complete, OHV use would be confined to designated routes and areas, and OHV use off these routes (cross-country travel) would be prohibited. Snowmobile use would continue to be managed as it is currently—allowed, restricted or prohibited on roads and trails and in areas on National Forest System lands.

“While some forests have begun to designate roads, trails, and areas for OHVs, I expect units to make significant progress in improving management of OHVs in the next two years,” said Bosworth. “We want to improve our management of outdoor recreation by having a system of routes and areas offering the best opportunities for OHV use while still meeting our responsibility to sustain National Forest System lands and resources.”

The proposed rule calls for the Forest Service to continue to engage with motorized sports enthusiasts, conservationists, state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, and others to identify routes offering the best opportunities for OHV use while still meeting its responsibility to protect the environment. The public would continue to be allowed to participate in the process of designating roads, trails, and areas or revising designations and would continue to receive advance notice to allow for public comment on proposed or revised designations. The agency has partnered with these groups in the past to provide enhanced motorized recreation opportunities by constructing, marking, maintaining and restoring trails as well as by providing training and safety instruction to users.

OHVs include motor vehicles that are designed or retrofitted primarily for recreational use off road, such as mini-bikes, amphibious vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, go-carts, motorized trail bikes, and dune buggies.

The agency is accepting comments for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The rule text submitted to the Office of the Federal Register is available on http://www.fs.fed.us/. Written comments may be sent to:

Proposed Rule for Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use c/o Content Analysis Team
P.O. Box 221150
Salt Lake City, Utah 84122-1150

Comments also will be accepted by electronic mail to trvman@fs.fed.us or by facsimile to 801-517-1014. Comments also may be submitted by following the instructions at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments will be analyzed and addressed in promulgation of a final rule.

For more information from the BRC CLICK HERE