LEGISLATIVE AND TECHNICAL AFFAIRS
By Colby Martin
SEMA Action Network Is the Industry’s Pit Crew
Activate Your Customer Base as Legislative Advocates
Recent government threat to motorsports has energized and unified the car hobby unlike any legislative issue prior. Boost the current momentum by utilizing every tool at your disposal to give the RPM Act and future pro-industry proposals a podium finish. After all, the key to winning any auto race lies in an all-hands-on-deck approach by a precision pit crew working in unison—and we need more hands.
For those unaware, the pro-hobby bill comes in response to a proposed regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would have made illegal the act of converting a street vehicle or motorcycle into a race vehicle used exclusively at the track if the emissions system is taken out of compliance from its stock configuration.
Congress has always prohibited the EPA from regulating race cars, which are excluded from the Clean Air Act’s definition of “motor vehicle.” The RPM Act simply confirms that it has always been legal to perform such modifications and will erase any doubts that the exemption applies to racing parts and vehicle modifications.
The ongoing effort to reach a national consensus on reducing air pollution is the stuff of legend. As it relates to cars and trucks, the war over auto-emissions rules has been waged since federal emissions standards first took effect in 1968. For the most part, the weekend vehicles found in the hobby have a minimal impact on emissions and air quality, given that they are operated infrequently, are well maintained and are a small portion of the overall vehicle population. Race cars fall into the same category.
Historically, a number of authorities at the federal and state levels have scapegoated hobby cars as gross polluters. For years, legislators, regulators and stationary-source polluters have felt the heat from failed efforts to meet air-quality goals and have looked to older cars and trucks as a convenient target, using faulty data and inflated annual mileage assumptions. The SEMA Action Network (SAN), the legislative voice of the auto hobby, has always believed that the hobby should not continue to carry the burden of past mistakes.
Many will recall the infamous Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 that was designed to diminish the nation’s population of older automobiles in the name of clean air. The campaign created a hot-button subject that ignited responses from Americans coast to coast. Thanks to an effort spearheaded by the SAN, the U.S. Congress was persuaded to spare cars 25 years old and older from the scrappage heap and expand parts recycling opportunities. This landmark win for the hobby demonstrated the capabilities and value of unifying consumers as political advocates.
|Leverage Your Customers as Industry Advocates|
Customizable SEMA Action Network content is available for repurposing now, such as articles, artwork, videos and online tools. Encourage enlistment and action from your customers:
Despite the continuing clash over vehicle emissions—as well as myriad other auto-related topics—a massive bright side has been revealed as a result of the latest national struggle. While it’s true that the SAN has enjoyed a variety of successes over the years on a host of issues, the recent mobilization on the race-car issue has been unprecedented. Word has traveled rapidly about the devastating harm such a rule would pose to motorsports participants—both amateur and professional—as well as the businesses and the public that support them. Within 24 hours, a SAN-created White House petition denouncing the regulation gained the 100,000 signatures needed to receive a response from the administration.
Prominent car clubs, media outlets and brand names continue to bolster the SAN’s legislative voice by urging for RPM Act support. At press time for this SEMA News issue, nearly 150,000 letters have been sent to Congress seeking support for the RPM Act. The movement to save our race cars continues to go viral in an internet age dominated by competition for audiences.
The hobby’s potency surrounding the SAN’s advocacy efforts to protect motorsports remains strong. As racers and fans, we must sustain this energy. Consistent action must be taken at each stage of the legislative process to drive the industry’s messages home.
First, make sure to sign the RPM Act letter to Congress; it only takes a moment. While many legislators and government officials have voiced support for the RPM Act, many elected officials are still undecided. Next, spread the word about this effort any way you can: company websites, e-mail, social media, forums, blogs, etc. Finally, enlist in the SAN at www.SEMAsan.com/join, if you haven’t already. There is no cost, spam or catch.
Stay informed and brace for upcoming legislative battles. Encourage others to follow suit. The rallying cry for lasting automotive freedoms has never been louder; awareness hasn’t been wider; and our momentum never greater.
Reach out and inspire your core enthusiasts to keep the throttle pegged. Contact Colby Martin at 909-978-6721 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get more involved. Ignited we stand!
The racing community and the industry that supports it have made major headlines of late. A grassroots movement to thwart a recent threat to motorsports has activated the entire auto hobby. Ultimately, this issue led SEMA’s allies in the U.S. Congress to introduce the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act) in both the House and Senate.