February 1, 2017
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Senator Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for sponsoring a bill which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating racing vehicles with illegal after-market exhausts. Burr’s legislation would prevent the EPA from taking action against a significant source of unnecessary and harmful noise.
Senator Burr calls his legislation the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act,” or “RPM.” His bill has 103 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 18 co-sponsors in the Senate. It also has the support of key members of the noise-industrial complex, including the International Hot Rod Association, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, and the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
Senator Burr states that “the Obama EPA attempted to tell the American people what they can do with their own cars, even though there is a deep tradition of hobbyists who have chosen to upgrade their vehicles when they are removed from public roads.” This is a complete misrepresentation of the truth, as millions of so-called “after-market” exhausts are not “removed from public roads.” In reality, millions of after-market exhausts show up on public roadways on a daily basis—which is illegal.
Rick Holtsclaw, a former Houston police officer, notes that “there is a criminal conspiracy between manufacturers, distributors, retailers, installers, and operators of illegally loud, illegally polluting after-market exhaust mechanisms. The product is labeled ‘FOR OFF-ROAD USE ONLY,’ to circumvent federal air and noise pollution regulations. Almost always, these exhausts end up on our public roads and highways—which is illegal.”
Holtsclaw commented that “I observed over my 31-year career an exponential increase of illegally-equipped, illegally-loud, illegally-polluting motor vehicles on our public roadways. I also observed the incredibly negative physiological and psychological effects these illegally-loud motor vehicles have on citizens’ quality of life. However, law enforcement and local and state elected officials have done absolutely nothing to stop the intrusive, illegal vehicular noise nonsense!”?
“In the Noise Control Act of 1972,” Holtsclaw states, “Congress identified ‘transportation vehicles’ as a primary culprit endangering the well-being of the American public. The US Code of Federal Regulations specifically regulates noise emissions for medium-to-heavy duty trucks and motorcycles licensed to operate on our public roadways. In 1986, the EPA reduced acceptable ‘total’ motorcycle noise emission restrictions from 83 dB(A) to 80 dB(A) in response to concerns for the health and welfare of the American citizen.”
Holtsclaw noted that Senator Burr is “unwittingly supporting an industry that is responsible for destroying the quality of life for millions of American citizens. The health of the citizens of North Carolina and the United States ‘trumps’ the hedonistic, narcissistic desires of those involved in automobile and motorcycle competition racing. Those modified vehicles Senator Burr seeks to approve for the closed-course racing environments are labeled ‘NOT FOR ROAD USE.’ However, millions of pieces of this equipment ultimately find their way onto our public roadways. As a result, the American people suffer while law enforcement turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the illegal, dangerous, intrusive, pervasive problem.”
Larry Deal, a member of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, stated that “both the federal government and the states regulate highway vehicles and what occurs public highways–and for good reason. We want the federal government to make sure those regulations are enforced and that the EPA’s role in enforcing them is not hampered by the demands of special interests groups such as SEMA and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.”?
“Our concern,” states Deal, “is that the EPA, having been chastised, may back off going after the manufactures of after-market emission control defeat devices and other bogus products that this rogue industry is peddling to the owners of highway vehicles. That includes those noise-enhancing after-market ‘performance’ exhaust systems. We are concerned that the distinction between highway and racing-only vehicles will be blurred by the misinterpretation of the RPM bill, which we believe is what those so-called racing hobbyists and SEMA would like to see. So-called ‘racing hobbyists’ and SEMA have been behaving as though there is no distinction between highway and racing- only vehicles at all.”
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet stated that “Senator Burr’s support for the interests of drag racers and noisemakers over the interests of the American public is deplorable. It is also deplorable that Senator Burr wants to prevent the EPA from doing its job—which includes imposing penalties for illegal behavior. After-market exhausts are allowed ‘FOR OFF-ROAD USE ONLY.’ Their use on public roads and highways is a blatant violation of federal and state law.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, and the Midwest Car Stereo Competition.