|Government scrutiny will bear down hard, especially on exhaust stream modifications, if the industry doesn't proactively self-regulate, says SPC Select Committee member Brian Reese.|
After sitting through a seminar on emissions regulations presented at the 2009 SEMA Show, featuring representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), I reaffirmed my suspicion that our industry is overdue for a major wake-up call relating to emissions regulations.
The most troubling aspect of the looming scrutiny is the unknown. Common sense can help us avoid the major land mines: do not make, market or sell products that can defeat emissions devices. It’s against the law, for example, to market an O2 simulator, or worse yet, the "test pipe" catalytic converter eliminator.
For those of us that are college football fans, there’s a common occurrence called “self-imposed sanctions.” This is a self-acknowledgement of breaking the rules, then correcting the offense and punishing yourself before the NCAA punishes you more harshly.
Call it repentance, admittance of guilt, remorse—whatever it takes to avoid the full force of the NCAA hammer, which usually means elimination of scholarships or ineligibility for postseason play. Our industry is sitting squarely in the self-imposed sanctions stage. Now is the time to proactively correct ourselves. Proactive is going to be better than reactive. As a whole industry, the more of us that start paying attention, the better we are as a whole.
History is a powerful tool, if you’re smart enough to consider it. It doesn’t take long to look back in time and find examples of the progression of regulation. Emissions regulation in the performance aftermarket is never going away. It will only continue to increase and amplify.
The gray area of emissions rules and regulations can be challenging to interpret and follow. This is where SEMA can pay dividends as a resource to member companies. SEMA has the power of the voice of more than 7,000 industry companies, and has the resources in place to help its membership navigate those gray areas. Armed with a full-time Washington, D.C., lobbyist office, technical consultants such as Jim McFarland, and legal counsel Russ Deane, SEMA should be a first stop for advice. — Brian Reese, SEMA SPC Select Committee, COMP Performance Group