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Appeal to EPA for Extension of Deadline for Comment
Prepared by: Thomas C. Wyld, Vice President-Government
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
with the Leaders™
THE MOTORCYCLE RIDERS FOUNDATION
Washington, D.C. 20013
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Vehicle and Fuels Emission Laboratory
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105
Via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
regards Docket A-2000-02, the Environmental Protection
Agency's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on "Control of
Emissions from Spark Ignition…Highway Motorcycles." The
purpose of this letter is to request a delay in the deadline
for public comment to January 8, 2003. The reason for
our request is the sheer volume of impacted small businesses
with which we must coordinate, the degree to which the
proposed rule adversely impacts the American motorcyclist
culture, the complexity of the proposed rule itself and
the need for further study.
stated at EPA's public hearing on this issue September
17, it is the finding of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation
that EPA's proposed rulemaking on highway motorcycles
will ban venerated classic engine families and destroy
a vast cottage industry of small businesses - from small-volume
motorcycle makers to the aftermarket.
we will have more to say during the public comment process,
the Motorcycle Riders Foundation does wish to make a few
comments at this time, pose questions and make requests
- all of which underscore the importance of the agency
granting everyone more time for more study.
MARQUE DEALERS: AN IMPACTED AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESS
respect to small business, we note with considerable interest
and call to your attention the testimony delivered by
the California Motorcycle Dealers Association (CMDA) at
the public hearing. The nation's largest motorcycle dealer
trade group, CMDA is the only organization in America
whose member-dealers - small businesses all - actually
struggled through a new emissions standard and felt the
impacts firsthand - impacts both predicted and unforeseen.
Because retailers are not makers, however, they, like
the aftermarket, were excluded by the EPA from the small
business regulatory flexibility process. Nonetheless,
dealers, like small-volume makers and the burgeoning yet
fragile aftermarket, stand to lose business, if not their
businesses wholly, having made, according to CMDA, "significant
'brick-and-mortar' investments to plan, finance, build,
remodel, expand, operate and pay for" their dealerships.
We request EPA conduct a true assessment of the impacts
of this rulemaking on all impacted small businesses -
a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. If EPA declines,
we wish to be informed the reasons for that decision.
ON CONTRIBUTION, TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY AND COST
Riders Foundation questions the EPA's estimate of the
street motorcycle's contribution to the total motor vehicle
pollution inventory. We ask, and request to be informed,
precisely how these estimates were developed. In your
response, please let us know how our contribution was
calculated, including, if used, estimates of vehicle miles
traveled, and other factors.
implausible the agency's finding that the catalyst-forcing
Tier Two standard of 0.8 g/km HC plus NOx is "technically
feasible." We ask, and request to be informed, what engine
families will be available - without performance or safety
problems - in 2010 - if this becomes the final standard.
struck by EPA's estimate of, on average, a few dollars
per bike for compliance which contrasts starkly with the
capital investment plans and other elaborate procedures
the agency expects a maker to follow to request a delay
in compliance. If the average cost per bike of meeting
Tier Two is a mere $35, as EPA suggests at one point in
the docket, surely that amount of money could be borrowed
from an aging Aunt. We ask, and request to be informed,
how EPA arrived at cost estimates for compliance and why
its estimates are radically lower than those developed
by the California Air Resources Board and the Motorcycle
Industry Council. We ask, and request to be informed,
if the CARB and MIC estimates were reviewed and, if so,
the reasons for their rejection. The fact is, the cost
of compliance will be infinitely more than a few dollars
per bike. The entire issue of cost must be examined -
and examined realistically.
AND EPA'S DISDAIN OF MOTORCYCLES
are virtually uniform in their view that many motorcycles
made to the current California standard (1.4 g/km HC only)
suffer from performance problems riders find unacceptable.
As CMDA put it on September 17, "we do not want to take
a chance on EPA or CARB staff estimates that motorcycles
with the 0.8 g/km HC plus NOx 2008-2010 standard will
be acceptable to, and bought by, our customers." Put another
way, with EPA all but dismissive of riders' concerns,
consumers may vote with their feet. We ask, and request
to know, why EPA should not conduct a survey of the consumers
of all affected makes and models, as an element of a comprehensive
cost-benefit analysis, to determine that EPA's hoped-for
emissions reductions will be realized at all.
it is not a question of whether venerated motorcycles
can comply with the current (much less future) California
standard, but whether such motorcycles can comply and
questions of performance, EPA answers, "We do not expect
any of these possible changes to adversely affect performance…A
direct comparison of several motorcycle models in the
EPA certification database between the 'California' model…and
the model sold in the rest of the U.S. reveals no change
in the performance characteristics in the database (e.g.,
rated horsepower, torque)." "Several" motorcycles? What
makes and models did EPA compare? What engine families
were left out of the comparison and why? Inasmuch as motorcycle
performance is tantamount to safety, shouldn't all engine
families be compared and the results provided to the motorcycle
consuming public as part of the Regulatory Support Document?
We ask, and request to know, the answers to these questions.
Moreover, we assert that a mere comparison of "rated horsepower"
is an inadequate measure of performance. Overall performance
of all affected motorcycles must be examined in all riding
scenarios responsibly, objectively and thoroughly. We
request to be informed of EPA's plans for a responsible
study of performance impact.
repeat the MRF axiom that motorcycle performance is tantamount
to motorcycle safety. That EPA does not share this view
is evident in its dismissal of sportbikes as "outrageous."
In fact, the agency is referring pejoratively to "GT class"
and other sportbikes. Outrageous? By this one word, EPA
has clearly conveyed to American motorcyclists its disdain
of the machines it desires to control and restrict - certainly
its disdain of a class of motorcycles millions of Americans
prefer. Contrast your view with this view of a GT class
"GSX1300R Hayabusa. It's most famous for its 190-mph
top-speed potential. But as anyone who has actually
ridden one knows, top speed is a minor subplot in the
GSX1300R narrative. The real story is that it's a sweet,
refined, stunningly capable all-around motorcycle."
Magazine, July 2002
if EPA staff rode motorcycles amidst the wayward taxis
of Washington, D.C., it would rethink its dislike of "stunningly
capable all-around" motorcycles, drop its invective from
something that purports to be a "support document," and
understand intimately that performance is tantamount to
SAFETY ISSUE: "PASSED OVER" BY EPA
riders review the "Regulatory Support Document" with an
eye toward the linked issues of safety and performance,
riders find no documentation whatsoever, just opinion
in the preamble, the agency states, "the current use of
catalytic converters on a number of motorcycles…already
indicates that [safety] issues are not insurmountable
on a variety of motorcycle styles and engine sizes." We
ask, and we request to be informed, what styles? What
engine sizes? And why this government agency dismisses
issues as vital as safety as "not insurmountable?" We
ask, and request to know, whether EPA has actually complied
with "the guidelines of the June 1, 1998 Executive Memorandum
on Plain Language in Government Writing," as it asserts.
Either a safety problem exists or it does not. The phrase
"not insurmountable" suggests the existence of a safety
problem; otherwise there would be nothing to surmount.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines "insurmountable"
as "incapable of being surmounted, passed over…" We ask,
and request to know, what safety problems are being "passed
over" in the application of catalytic converters to all
styles of motorcycles?
again that this problem is real and exists today. It cannot
and must not be "passed over." Even the current California
emissions standard is viewed by at least some manufacturers
as a catalyst-forcing standard for some models. We request
that EPA answer, using plain language, these questions:
do catalytic converters on any motorcycles constitute
a safety problem, and if so, on which makes and models
has the problem presented itself?
the EPA would find added urgency for addressing the issue
of safety in a single sentence from the October 2001 issue
of SuperBike, a U.K. magazine that covers sportbike world.
In its review of the Kawasaki KZ-12R, an inset photo of
the bike's muffler (called a "silencer" in the U.K.) is
accompanied by this text (expletive deleted): "Massive
titanium…silencer hides a catalyser which gets f---ing
hot, and stays that way for hours after you switch off."
Perched an inch or so above the silencer is the passenger
and request to know, whether the agency has any evidence
of a safety problem, and we request to be furnished a
copy of that evidence or any discussion thereof (e.g.,
letters, memoranda, studies, etc.). We assert that the
EPA can honestly answer the safety question only after
a well-documented, scientifically sound study. We request
such a study.
study of this critical question, we request the EPA examine
not only the burn hazard, but also the reliability and
smoothness of adequate power delivery in all operating
scenarios and the degree to which added heat contributes
to rider fatigue, particularly in urban gridlock and in
the desert environment. The bikes chosen should reflect
the wide variety of bikes available on the market (e.g.,
they should not all be 2003 Honda Interceptors) and include
a variety of cruisers and "standards."
hazard element of this study should not be limited to
riders and passengers but to passersby. It is the common
experience of riders that children are drawn to motorcycles,
particularly recently parked motorcycles. Inasmuch as
cat-equipped bikes remain exceedingly hot "for hours after
you switch off," we ask, and request to know, how EPA
can refuse to study this critical issue and continue to
state categorically, as it does in the preamble, that
"this proposed rule does not involve decisions on…safety
risks that may disproportionately affect children" [required
by Executive Order 13045, "Protection of Children from
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks" (62 F.R.
19885, April 23, 1997)].
and other reasons that strike at the heart of good government,
the Motorcycle Riders Foundation requests that the deadline
for public comment on docket A-2000-02 be extended to
January 8, 2003. The agency's prompt answers to the questions
we pose and the requests we make above will aid us as
we continue to study this complex rule.
Vice President, Government Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation