PRI Files Suit Against EPA on Behalf of Motorsports

Photo: PRI
Photo: PRI

PRI will be going to bat for the motorsports industry in a battle with the EPA.  PRI has filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Gear Box Z. Inc. (GBZ), arguing against the EPA’s contention that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow a motor vehicle to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition.

Although the EPA inserted this interpretation of the CAA into a 2015 rulemaking, it quickly withdrew its position following a huge, PRI-led public outcry. The EPA, however, continues to maintain that once a vehicle has been certified as a street vehicle, it cannot be converted into a racing vehicle even if that vehicle is brought to the track in a trailer and never driven on public roads. This is problematic in our industry for obvious reasons.

In 2016, Congress members introduced PRI-sponsored legislation to confirm what had already been understood for the previous 45 years, that the CAA did not apply to vehicles modified for racing use only. The “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act) is bi-partisan legislation to clarify that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a dedicated race car. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market, and install racing equipment. PRI continues to work tirelessly to pass this important legislation to counter EPA overreach.

In filing an amicus brief in the GBZ litigation, PRI does not challenge the EPA’s authority to enforce against the sale of aftermarket defeat devices for street vehicles. However, in the GBZ case, the EPA states that “An EPA-certified motor vehicle does not somehow disappear from the jurisdiction of the CAA if it is used exclusively for competition motorsports. Likewise, aftermarket defeat devices remain subject to the CAA prohibition when they are manufactured and sold, or purportedly manufactured and sold, for motor vehicles that may be used exclusively for competition motorsports.” PRI’s brief counters that “the agency’s interpretation breaks from the plain language of the CAA, the legislative history, and EPA’s regulations and guidance.”

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