By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
As previously reported, SEMA has intervened in an EPA enforcement case to protect the rights of racers.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, while acknowledging the fundamental issue raised by SEMA, declined to make a ruling in the lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Gear Box Z. Inc. (GBZ). While pursuing GBZ for tampering allegations, the EPA made statements in its court filings that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow a motor vehicle to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition and that equipment installed to make the conversion is illegal. SEMA challenged this flawed interpretation of the CAA first made by the EPA in 2015 and now repeated in the court filing.
The Court ruled that the EPA produced evidence that the subject products sold by GBZ were being used on highway vehicles, with no evidence of use on motor sports vehicles. Therefore, lacking evidence of the converting of road vehicles to dedicated race cars, which would have necessitated the Court address the issue, the Court declined to rule on whether the CAA disallows conversions of street vehicles to dedicated racing machines.
While not settling the street-to-racecar conversion issue, SEMA’s filing of the amicus brief was impactful for several reasons. First, it demonstrates the need for the U.S. Congress to enact the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act), bi-partisan legislation to clarify that it is legal to make such conversions and to produce, market and install racing equipment. Second, the Court’s opinion did offer some favorable language with the Court confirming that it is the EPA’s burden to produce evidence that emissions-related equipment is being used illegally on highway vehicles when making such a claim.
SEMA will continue to work tirelessly to settle the EPA’s overreach by passing the RPM Act.