A small group of House lawmakers has introduced legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from writing rules to regulate race cars, a move the agency threatened last week.
The EPA is considering a rule under the Clean Air Act to regulate modified cars used in racetracks around the country. Last week, it drew an immediate complaint from Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who said it "could get in the way of you or your neighbor's hobby."
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., agrees with Rubio, and says Congress never intended the Clean Air Act to be used this way, and says his bill is needed to clarify that the EPA doesn't have this authority.
His bill is the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act, or the RPM Act.
"The EPA has placed onerous regulations on nearly every aspect of our economy — from energy production to agriculture — and now they are coming after Americans' hobbies," McHenry said in a statement Tuesday.
"For years my constituents have been free to modify vehicles for competitive use on closed tracks without government interference," he added. "The RPM Act will ensure that continues by blocking this EPA overreach allowing motorsports enthusiasts in North Carolina and across the country to continue this time-honored tradition."
A cosponsor of the bill, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., represents Charlotte Motor Speedway, and said the EPA's attempt to intrude on the sport is an example of "ridiculous" government overreach.
"This legislation is a critical step to protect the way of life for many and ensure the future of racing," he said. "We're not just going to sound the alarm on this — we're going to stop it."
The bill is also cosponsored by one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who agreed that the EPA is going too far.
"Now we are seeing the agency attempt to subvert the clear implication of the Clean Air Act that race cars should not be subject to emissions standards," he said. "Our legislation will continue the decades-long application of existing law and require the EPA to apply the law as passed, not in any way they choose."
Other sponsors of the bill are Reps. Bill Posey, R-Fla., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.