The promoter at Portsmouth Raceway Park has weighed in on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule, which takes the unprecedented step of establishing regulations for competitive racing vehicles under the Clean Air Act.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has asked the EPA to remove language from a proposed rule. DeWine expressed his concerns with the proposed language in a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“I strongly urge the EPA to remove the language referencing vehicles “used solely for competition” from the final rule,” DeWine wrote in his letter. “Not only is this language inconsistent with the federal Clean Air Act, but any measurable benefit from this change would pale in comparison to the economic harm from lost jobs and reduced tax revenues in Ohio.”
The U.S. EPA has recently opened a new comment period on a proposed rule regarding “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles.” Buried in the 629-page proposal is a provision 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.”
DeWine said the specialty automotive industry is an important part of of Ohio’s and the national economy. In 2014, consumers spent $36 billion on automotive specialty equipment parts and accessories. Ohio is home to Summit Racing Equipment and JEGS High Performance, America’s two largest retailers selling high performance automotive equipment. These companies, as well as many equipment manufacturers and racing venues in Ohio, employ thousands of Ohioans and are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity. This proposed rule would damage Ohio’s economy by making many of the products sold and installed by Ohio businesses illegal.
In his letter, DeWine notes that, “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.”
“I certainly hope Mr. DeWine’s letter is taken into consideration. As he states in his letter, if this rule is passed, it will hurt Ohio’s economy in a vast way,” Donna Rayburn of PRP told the Daily Times. “He mentions that Ohio is home to Summit Racing and Jegs, which are two of the biggest parts distributor’s in the United States. If this is passed, it will affect the items they sale.”
DeWine said the proposed rule would damage Ohio’s economy by making many of the products sold and installed by Ohio businesses illegal. Rayburn told the Times, basically what they are doing is not allowing the drivers to alter the engines (catalytic converters) so they will no longer be able to remove them to put on racecars. She said it would in turn make engine cost extremely expensive and most Saturday night racecar drivers, will not be able to afford something like that. Rayburn said it could have an extreme affect on racing.
“Unfortunately, I personally feel, this is our governments way of controlling us even more, by telling us what we can and cannot do. Ohio is home to several dirt race tracks. Most of the racecar drivers at these tracks race simply for the fun and enjoyment of racing. They do not have an unlimited budget,” Rayburn said. “If this rule is passed, it will greatly increase the cost of what a driver must spend to make his car legal. Therefore, there will be several drivers who will then be unable to race. I encourage all who enjoy racing, and even those who don’t, to contact their local government officials and not let this happen. We continue to lose jobs in this area and this will have a huge impact on that, should this regulation pass.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.