News: Quick Takes

Bill by McHenry would keep feds away from race cars

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, pictured at right in August at the Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, introduced a bill preventing federal environmental regulators from tampering with racing cars. (Photo from Rep. McHenry's Facebook page)
U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, pictured at right in August at the Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, introduced a bill preventing federal environmental regulators from tampering with racing cars. (Photo from Rep. McHenry's Facebook page)

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District, wants to keep Washington regulators from getting under the hoods of race cars.

McHenry introduce the RPM Act, designed to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating cars used in motorsports.

“Automobile racing plays an important role in our state, both as a significant part of our local economy and also as a pastime for many North Carolinians,” McHenry, the U.S. House’s chief deputy whip, said in a statement. “Last year I was proud to lead the fight against the misguided EPA regulation targeting racing, but our work is not done. In the coming months, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the new administration to ensure the RPM Act becomes law.”

The EPA issued a proposed rule in early 2016 that would make the practice of modifying motor vehicles for racing a violation of the Clean Air Act, McHenry’s statement says. The proposed rule was withdrawn in April 2016.

The RPM (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports) Act would make a permanent exemption for race cars from EPA regulation, McHenry’s office said.

While the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to regulate motor vehicles, the regulations never have applied to race cars, McHenry’s office said. In 1990, Congress affirmed the exemption when it authorized the EPA to regulate “non-road vehicles” but specifically exempted any “vehicle used solely for competition,” the office said.

The bill has been assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.