(PatriotWise.com)- A bipartisan group of Congress members are supporting a bill that would undo a Trump-era law that allows the Environmental Protection Agency to raid certain auto shops.
Last December, the National Compliance Initiative was released by the EPA. It ultimately focused on “defeat devices” that were being installed either before-market or after-market on vehicles.
Using this initiative, the agency made it one of its top priorities to enforce against the use of high-performance parts for the conversion to race cars. This would include exhaust systems, tuners and superchargers.
When he took office in January, President Joe Biden did nothing about the law, but now members of Congress are up in arms enough that they want a change.
The bill is being sponsored by Republican Representative Patrick McHenry from North Carolina. He said that the bill, called the RPM Act, would make it legal to make changes that are related to emissions meant to convert a street vehicle to a race car, as long as that car were used only for competing.
The bill would also legalize the practice of marketing, producing and installing this racing equipment.
One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, told the Washington Examiner:
“I think it’s insane that over 40 executive branch agencies have police forces. The EPA shouldn’t be able to raid anything or anybody.”
Still, the EPA defended deploying armed personnel to body shops in the recent past. A spokesman for the agency said:
“Our agents are necessarily armed when they investigate persons alleged to have knowingly violated the law, and our investigations are often conducted in the company of local/state law enforcement and pursuant to judicially approved subpoenas.”
Many small business owners contacted by the Washington Examiner say they have been harassed by EPA agents who have raided their locations.
Justin Hildebrande of JH Diesel in Florida said he was initially fined $180,000. After he turned over two months of invoices from customers, the EPA dropped that fine to $22,000.
The EPA conducted an audit of PFI Speed in Colorado late last year. The owner, Brent Leivestad, revealed in a video on YouTube that they asked about his suppliers, his clients and what they were selling. The initial fine the business received was $180,000 as well, but it could be dropped to $18,000.
Despite that, Leivestad is not happy with how it all went, comparing it to a “shakedown.” He explained:
“None of us know what this EPA act is in the first place. We don’t even know really where to even find it or read it or understand what their rules are, but we got dinged.”
Raiding body shops used to be a common practice of the EPA, as they looked to clamp down on converting vehicles to racing cars. In 2016, the agency withdrew its proposal but still said street vehicles weren’t allowed to be converted to race cars.