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Old 02-11-2016, 03:59 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Joe, your argument hinges on the definition of motor vehicle. The legal definition of "motor vehicle" is found here*:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/40/85.1703

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§ 85.1703 Definition of motor vehicle.
(a) For the purpose of determining the applicability of section 216(2), a vehicle which is self-propelled and capable of transporting a person or persons or any material or any permanently or temporarily affixed apparatus shall be deemed a motor vehicle, unless any one or more of the criteria set forth below are met, in which case the vehicle shall be deemed not a motor vehicle:
(1) The vehicle cannot exceed a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour over level, paved surfaces; or
(2) The vehicle lacks features customarily associated with safe and practical street or highway use, such features including, but not being limited to, a reverse gear (except in the case of motorcycles), a differential, or safety features required by state and/or federal law; or
(3) The vehicle exhibits features which render its use on a street or highway unsafe, impractical, or highly unlikely, such features including, but not being limited to, tracked road contact means, an inordinate size, or features ordinarily associated with military combat or tactical vehicles such as armor and/or weaponry.
(2) definitely applies to race cars which no longer retain DOT-legal seatbelts. The argument would be that any vehicle used strictly for competition is no longer a "motor vehicle" under federal law. The EPA is attempting to argue that a "thing" that starts life as a motor vehicle must always remain a motor vehicle, when it's clear from the written law, and from the intent of the law, that the CAA was never meant to apply to off-highway vehicles.

(* I think. The reference to 216(2) is a reference to the Clean Air Act, but I wasn't quickly able to find the text of that section.)
wow good catch!

Hornet ball, would you say this statement is accurate?

is Savington is right all we would need to do is: install a cage, remove the 3 point, remove so much power that it's top speed is 24mph, remove reverse gear, add tank treads, make it gigantic, or cover it with guns... easy.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:02 PM   #102
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Adding to what Andrew is saying and turning away from the regulations and to the CAA itself, if you look at 42 USC Section 7550(10) and (11) (42 USC 7550: Definitions), you'll see the term:

"[A] motor vehicle OR a vehicle used solely for competition" (emphasis added)

So, the law establishes a distinction between "motor vehicle" and "vehicle used solely for competition." This, in fact, was the crux of the legislative history cited earlier where it was clarified that racers could modify a car into a "vehicle used solely for competition" and that a "vehicle used solely for competition" was not subject to CAA requirements.

This has been the interpretation and practice for more than 45 years.

Now the EPA is saying that "once a motor vehicle, always a motor vehicle" and no modification into a "vehicle used solely for competition" is ever possible. That's a HUGE change.

Now, I wouldn't say that the disctinction between "motor vehicle" and "vehicle used solely for competition" is as clear as it could be. In particular, "vehicle used solely for competition" is not explicitly defined in the statute ("motor vehicle" and "nonroad vehicle" are). I suspect legislators of years gone by might have thought the term clear enough on its face. Assuming the term is considered ambiguous, a court would normally turn to legislative history and, in that case, the Nichols/Staggers discussion is extremely strong, directly-on-point evidence of the meaning.

For most laws, I'd say this was a slam dunk. However, given the politically polarizing subject matter, I think the initial outcome will depend entirely upon the judge, and that outcome, whatever it is, will likely go through appeals. I do not expect an Obama-led EPA to pull the proposed regulations, and I would expect SEMA and similar organizations to file suit as this is an existential threat to them. Your desire to see this play out in court is likely to happen.

In the meantime, it would be nice if common sense and cost/benefit prevailed and we could preserve some aspects of the American culture.
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Old 02-11-2016, 04:16 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
"[A] motor vehicle OR a vehicle used solely for competition" (emphasis added)
Again, look at the full context. That snippet comes from para 10 & 11 which read, in full:
10)Nonroad engine.—
The term “nonroad engine” means an internal combustion engine (including the fuel system) that is not used in a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition, or that is not subject to standards promulgated under section 7411 [stationary engines, such as generators] of this title or section 7521 [heavy trucks and motorcycles] of this title.

(11)Nonroad vehicle.—
The term “nonroad vehicle” means a vehicle that is powered by a nonroad engine and that is not a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition.

It's a little hard to read because there's some double-negation, but here's a plain English translation:

10: A non-road engine is one that is not used in either a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition. Thus, a race car does not contain a "non-road engine."

11: A non-road vehicle is one which is neither a motor vehicle nor a vehicle used solely for competition. Thus, a race car is not a "non-road vehicle."


And, as such, the CAA continues to apply to a vehicle designed under the provisions of § 7550, regardless of the fact that the owner of the vehicle chooses to use it on a racetrack.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:07 PM   #104
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Default EPA Seeks to Prohibit Conversion of Vehicles Into Racecars

Our sloppy controls of previously stricter rules start to sound like the land for the free...

Can't you just crush the VIN? Making your once road going vehicle a race bespoke lump of steel?

But the huge reduction of the business would be murder.
It's the wannabe s and rivers that build the volume enabling reasonable prices on the useful stuff.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:50 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
Now, I wouldn't say that the disctinction between "motor vehicle" and "vehicle used solely for competition" is as clear as it could be. In particular, "vehicle used solely for competition" is not explicitly defined in the statute ("motor vehicle" and "nonroad vehicle" are). I suspect legislators of years gone by might have thought the term clear enough on its face. Assuming the term is considered ambiguous, a court would normally turn to legislative history and, in that case, the Nichols/Staggers discussion is extremely strong, directly-on-point evidence of the meaning.
I hope you're right.

An alternative interpretation would be that a "vehicle used solely for competition" is one which is designed specifically for competition use, rather than for road use. Examples here (which would have been relevant in the 1970s) would be Formula cars, USAC (Sprint / Indy) cars, Midget cars, NASCAR (after the end of homologation), and other vehicles which you can look at and immediately say "That is obviously a race car."


This would be as opposed to the wording of 7550, where it states that: (2) The term “motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons or property on a street or highway."

Again, note the use of the word "designed." The Act seems to concern itself with the design intent of the vehicle, not its usage.

Vehicles designed for transporting persons or property on a street or highway can function either as road cars or as race cars, wherein the distinction between the two is mostly contextual, and determined by the presence of things like stickers and safety equipment. A 2004 BMW M3 does not cease to be a road car merely because you rip out the interior and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with it.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 02-11-2016 at 08:13 PM. Reason: contextual, not conceptional.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:53 PM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Again, look at the full context. That snippet comes from para 10 & 11 which read, in full:
10)Nonroad engine.—
The term “nonroad engine” means an internal combustion engine (including the fuel system) that is not used in a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition, or that is not subject to standards promulgated under section 7411 [stationary engines, such as generators] of this title or section 7521 [heavy trucks and motorcycles] of this title.

(11)Nonroad vehicle.—
The term “nonroad vehicle” means a vehicle that is powered by a nonroad engine and that is not a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition.

It's a little hard to read because there's some double-negation, but here's a plain English translation:

10: A non-road engine is one that is not used in either a motor vehicle or a vehicle used solely for competition. Thus, a race car does not contain a "non-road engine."

11: A non-road vehicle is one which is neither a motor vehicle nor a vehicle used solely for competition. Thus, a race car is not a "non-road vehicle."


And, as such, the CAA continues to apply to a vehicle designed under the provisions of § 7550, regardless of the fact that the owner of the vehicle chooses to use it on a racetrack.
Well, I've been digging a bit more (out of curiosity, stubborness and abject horror that what I assumed I've known for decades might not be so) . . . and I'm kind of coming to the same conclusion you are. It just doesn't seem to be there. In particular, the term "vehicle used solely for competition" is only associated with sections dealing with non-road vehicles and only came into the CAA in 1990 -- it was not part of the original act. It would seem that legal memo was a bit hastily written and has some holes.

It looks like an argument will have to rely heavily on legislative history or perhaps some sort of estoppel, cost-benefit theory -- i.e., that an entire industry/culture/way of life has arisen from a prevailing understanding and pattern of enforcement and the economic harm from a change far outweighs the environmental benefit.

Sigh. I really detest all of this fundamental transformation. Less than a year left, right?
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:10 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
It looks like an argument will have to rely heavily on legislative history or perhaps some sort of estoppel, cost-benefit theory -- i.e., that an entire industry/culture/way of life has arisen from a prevailing understanding and pattern of enforcement and the economic harm from a change far outweighs the environmental benefit.
That would be just about the only way to do it. Demonstrate that the law has not historically been applied to vehicles used solely for competition, and that it would have massive economic consequences for a large (and mostly) domestic industry.


My fear is that even if they do write in an exemption for competition vehicles, they'd have to craft it in a very strict way (eg: vehicles neither registered nor insured for operation on the public highways), and that this would still have negative consequences for the aftermarket in the form of a chilling effect on the design, sale and use of things like ECUs / programmers and forced induction systems.


Anecdotally related: I miss having access to Westlaw and LexisNexis.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:44 PM   #108
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Has the EPA ever hesitated to cause economic harm?
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:52 PM   #109
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To be fair, the year I was born in Cleveland, OH (where everyone had a good-paying union job in heavy manufacturing), the Cuyohoga River caught fire twice.

But, yeah, things seem to be out of control in the other direction now.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:44 PM   #110
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The EPA has essentially killed the mining industry in WV, which is strangling the southern part of the state and eastern KY. Not that the mining industry doesn't need regulated, but they have not issued a new mining permit since the current administration took office. They are treating the permitting process the same as the sheriff's office in LA county treats applications for concealed carry. You can apply, but it goes straight into the circular file.

To me this is a major over reach. These agencies should not have the power to change stuff like this without laws passing through congress. That is what is most frustrating, ultimately, your representative can't do anything about this other than push for the repeal of the CAA or work to defund the agency.

If they give zero ***** about killing coal, how much do you think they care about SEMA. These are not elected officials.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:49 PM   #111
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To me this is a major over reach. These agencies should not have the power to change stuff like this without laws passing through congress.
Huh?

The Clean Air Act WAS passed by Congress. Specifically, the 88th US Congress in 1963, under a democratic majority in both the House and the Senate.

The EPA isn't changing anything. They're just saying that they are going to start enforcing the law as it is presently written.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:02 PM   #112
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That said, the EPA has reached a point in its existence similar to that of labor unions in the US. Most of the "big" problems have been solved, and yet rather than declare success and disband, they continue to struggle for ways to maintain their power and relevance. Administrative agencies, like organisms, don't like to die.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:12 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Huh?

The Clean Air Act WAS passed by Congress. Specifically, the 88th US Congress in 1963, under a democratic majority in both the House and the Senate.

The EPA isn't changing anything. They're just saying that they are going to start enforcing the law as it is presently written.
It's not that they don't have the authorization, it's that they shouldn't. If the intent of the original law was to not cover "competition vehicles" then the law should have specified as such, and the agency shouldn't have the leeway to change course. I guess it's not overreach, unelss you consider that they are ignoring the express intent of the law as the quote from the legislator indicates.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:12 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Huh?

The Clean Air Act WAS passed by Congress. Specifically, the 88th US Congress in 1963, under a democratic majority in both the House and the Senate.

The EPA isn't changing anything. They're just saying that they are going to start enforcing the law as it is presently written.
The original act. Another, more stringent act was passed in 1973 with even stronger ammendments in 1990. Both later moves signed into law by a Republican president with both House and Senate under democratic control.

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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
That said, the EPA has reached a point in its existence similar to that of labor unions in the US. Most of the "big" problems have been solved, and yet rather than declare success and disband, they continue to struggle for ways to maintain their power and relevance. Administrative agencies, like organisms, don't like to die.
Has there ever been a government agency dissolved in modern times? Not counting times after a conflict.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:59 PM   #115
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Has there ever been a government agency dissolved in modern times?
Sure, I can think of plenty...
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Originally Posted by bahurd View Post
Not counting times after a conflict.
Oh, sure- go putting Terms & Conditions on it.

Fine. The Bureau of Prohibition. Dissolved 1933 after the passage of the 21st Amendment.



But in all seriousness, there have actually been tons of them. The Bureau of Mines, the Federal Power Commission, the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, the U.S. Office of Education, the Public Land Commission, the Public Works Administration, the Subsistence Homesteads Division, the United States Grazing Service, the Industrial Commission, the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, the United States Metric Board, the National Inventors Council, the Wage Stabilization Board, the National Production Authority, the Pay Board and Price Commission, the Office of Technology Assessment, the United States Railroad Administration, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, the United States Shipping Board, the Teacher Corps, the list goes on and on.

All were dissolved after having either outlived their usefulness or having failed miserably at their assigned task.


Trouble is that public consciousness of issues related to environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions continues to rise at a seemingly exponential rate, so regardless of the effectiveness of the EPA, they play to a willing audience. Does that mean that we're actually going to ban the use of fossil fuels for electricity production and switch to carbon-neutral generation sources? Of course not. But they can continue to nitpick and win minor battles.

Related: If you haven't already, check out Erin Brockovich's facebook page. The extent to which this woman (whom we all know from the Julia Roberts movie) has become a mouthpiece for every anti-economic group in existence is profoundly disturbing.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:14 PM   #116
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^ I cede to your thoroughness

You had to digg deep for some of those. Some I remember.
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Old 02-12-2016, 02:39 PM   #117
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^ Don't forget the REA.

No matter how many times you see examples of real benefits and real idiocy from the same agencies, the contrast amazes.

The ability of modern cars to make incredible power while having tailpipe emissions that were unthinkably low 30 years ago is due in large part to these agencies. (Look at aircraft too) That has made seriously life-changing improvements for people. Yet the same basic group of people will make your life a living hell if you attempt to say, put a modern more powerful and cleaner engine into an older chassis despite it being far better in every conceivable way. And they are now looking at totally ******* up a portion of life that's incredibly important to a lot of people - and will probably have no meaningful benefit for anyone.

Power is usually more like a sledgehammer than a scalpel. And people look like nails from 30K feet.
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Old 02-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #118
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^ Don't forget the REA.

No matter how many times you see examples of real benefits and real idiocy from the same agencies, the contrast amazes.

The ability of modern cars to make incredible power while having tailpipe emissions that were unthinkably low 30 years ago is due in large part to these agencies. (Look at aircraft too) That has made seriously life-changing improvements for people. Yet the same basic group of people will make your life a living hell if you attempt to say, put a modern more powerful and cleaner engine into an older chassis despite it being far better in every conceivable way. And they are now looking at totally ******* up a portion of life that's incredibly important to a lot of people - and will probably have no meaningful benefit for anyone.

Power is usually more like a sledgehammer than a scalpel. And people look like nails from 30K feet.
REA was abolished in 1994 and its functions assumed by the Rural Utilities Service. Not found is if those employees ended up moving over to the RUS. Any bets??

Rural Electrification Administration

Rural Utilities Service | USDA Rural Development
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:56 PM   #119
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That said, the EPA has reached a point in its existence similar to that of labor unions in the US. Most of the "big" problems have been solved, and yet rather than declare success and disband, they continue to struggle for ways to maintain their power and relevance. Administrative agencies, like organisms, don't like to die.
This.
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:03 AM   #120
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Progress Update: Opposing EPA Proposal to Prohibit Race Car Conversions
https://www.sema.org/sema-enews/2016...campaign=eNews

On Florida Senator Marco Rubio's site:
https://marcorubio.com/news/epa-race-cars-modified/
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