EPA shifts course on race car rules

EPA shifts course on race car rules
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The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it is dropping contentious language from a proposed greenhouse gas rule that would have prevented hobbyists and amateur drivers from converting street cars into race cars.

The shift comes three days after a trio of House Republicans sent a letter pressing EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Critics accuse Interior's top lawyer of misleading Congress | Boaty McBoatface makes key climate change discovery | Outrage over Trump's order to trim science advisory panels Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage Overnight Energy: Trump order to trim science panels sparks outrage | Greens ask watchdog to investigate Interior's records policies | EPA to allow use of pesticide harmful to bees MORE for a legal justification for the proposal, raising concerns that it would have hindered the racing industry.

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Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) applauded the agency’s decision to remove the language affecting race cars.

“EPA had no business using Heavy Duty Truck rules to sideline racecars,” they said in a statement. “Today marks an important victory in our continued efforts to get the EPA back on the right track when it comes to regulating under the Clean Air Act.”

At issue was a proposed regulation to slash greenhouse gas emissions by medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would have also mandated that certified motor vehicles, engines and their emission control devices remain in their certified configuration.

GOP lawmakers said the provision would have applied to vehicles converted for competition, which have been exempt from the EPA’s regulation under the Clean Air Act.

The greenhouse gas rule was proposed last summer and is expected to be finalized this July. Following backlash from the motorsports industry, the EPA reopened its public comment period earlier this year to get more feedback from stakeholders.

The agency maintains that the language was only meant to be clarifying and not represent a change in policy, but “since our attempt to clarify led to confusion, EPA has decided to eliminate the proposed language from the final rule.”

“EPA supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country,” the agency said. “EPA’s focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don’t play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads.”