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H-D & EPA Settle ASAP, Despite AMA RPM Act Introduction

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On: Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 2:26PM | By: Arnold Knox


H-D & EPA Settle ASAP, Despite AMA RPM Act Introduction

Harley-Davidson (H-D) has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); it calls for a $12 million fine for selling after-market motorcycle engine tuners that add performance for racing and more emissions for the rest of us. At least 340,000 have been sold since 2008, when the EPA’s Emission Standards for Highway Motorcycles took effect.

H-D has also agreed to pull the racing tuners from the U.S. market. The Screamin’ Eagle Super Pro Tuner can still be sold outside the U.S.; those tuners will carry a label that states they are not to be sold in the U.S. The Screamin’ Eagle Street Performance tuners will still be allowed.

H-D will also cough up $3 million for a mitigation program involving the replacement of regular wood-burning stoves with stoves that burn more cleanly; this program will be for designated communities in Wisconsin.

Those are the facts. Of course, H-D says, “This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition. For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S.” That quote is from Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s Government Affairs Director, in an H-D press release after the fact.

What Mr. Moreland doesn’t say is that after regulation changes in 2008, the Super Pro Tuner was sold with the understanding that they would be used only on bikes that were to be used only for racing. As we all know, that is great on paper, in theory, in principle. We may be naïve, but we are not stupid; in practice, most of those bikes are on the streets, not the track.

This settlement comes in the face of a concerted effort by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) to have a bill—Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2016—passed by Congress that would stop the EPA in its efforts to prohibit the conversion of any street bikes and other vehicles to competition-level specs. So, while this agreement has been reached, it seems to be only round one of what could be a very interesting fight for the right to, in this case, pollute. Granted, the number of motorcycles—and the amount of emissions—is much smaller than just the VW vehicles with defeat devices, but, is that reason enough for creating a self-serving exemption from environmental regulations that benefit all of us?

We shall see what we shall see when we see it. Stay tuned.

82016arm




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