SEMA Crushes Vehicle Scrappage Program
Federal Highway Bill Excludes Funds to Flatten Cars
Enthusiasts can now breathe a little easier. It looks as though the federal government isn’t going to buy and scrap old vehicles—for now. SEMA, working with the SAN, has once again prevented the use of federal monies to fund motor vehicle scrappage programs. The latest victory came as Congress completed work on legislation to fund highway construction and public transportation through 2009. President Bush signed the $286.5 billion bill into law on August 10.
Every few years, Congress must reauthorize the highway laws. That process allows lawmakers to reconsider how monies are spent on highways and mass transit. However, it also provides an opportunity to lift the ban against spending federal taxpayer dollars on scrappage programs.
When the legislation was first introduced two years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed funding state and local scrappage programs through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). The program pays for things such as bike paths, carpool lanes and commuter parking lots. SEMA worked with a coalition of other specialty-equipment trade associations urging Congress not to authorize the scrappage proposal.
“Lawmakers listened to our message,” noted Steve McDonald, SEMA’s vice president for government affairs. “SEMA briefed leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on the fact that scrappage programs are not a cost-effective method to reduce motor vehicle emissions and unnecessarily remove collector vehicles and parts from the marketplace. The leaders pledged not to include vehicle scrappage funding in the highway bill, and they lived up to that pledge.”
Scrappage programs accelerate natural vehicle retirement by allowing for the purchase of older cars from their owners. The vehicles are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal. Most scrappage programs are based on the trading of emissions credits and began as incentives for “smokestack” industries to determine the most cost-effective means of reducing pollution. SEMA opposes scrappage proposals. Where proposals cannot be defeated, SEMA seeks to amend them to protect collector vehicles and parts cars, focus on gross polluters, use measured emission values, allow parts recycling and include repair/upgrade alternatives.
“SEMA will oppose any future efforts to authorize vehicle scrappage programs, be they on the state or national levels,” said McDonald. “We believe that all mobile source emissions-reduction programs should be carefully developed to achieve real environmental benefits while keeping the impact on businesses and the public as low as possible. A scrappage program that indiscriminately targets older vehicles—especially well-maintained and infrequently driven collector vehicles—does not meet that criteria.”
In related news, California lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow owners to trade high-polluting cars and trucks for cleaner-running vehicles. Proposed by Assemblyman David Cogdill (R-Modesto), AB 184 would operate in conjunction with the state Consumer Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to owners if their cars fail a smog check. Cogdill has stated that the existing program is not taking enough high polluters off the road. Under AB 184, individuals who donate high-polluting vehicle for scrappage will be replaced with lower-polluting cars of a similar model. Given that this proposal again targets older vehicles for scrappage—many of which are collected and preserved by hobbyists—the SAN is opposing this legislation.
Taking it to the Hill: Off-Road Advocates Convene Summit in Washington, DC
SEMA and the SEMA Action Network joined with the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and the BlueRibbon Coalition to sponsor a Washington Summit for Motorized Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation. Over 60 participants from 20 organizations asked members of Congress to support Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform legislation and to preserve access for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on federal lands.
Flanked by staff from the SEMA Government Affairs Office, summit participants visited Congressional offices, including personal visits with Reps. Gary Miller (R-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-AL). They expressed support for managed care of the nation’s public lands in ways that still provide opportunities for responsible off-roading.
A key topic of the Summit was proposed changes to the ESA. Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) of the House Resources Committee is pursuing a rewrite of the law to better achieve its goals: saving endangered animals and plants. Enacted in 1973, the ESA has saved only 10 species out of 1,800 listings. Meanwhile, millions of acres of land have been closed with more set-asides in the works. For years, property owners and off-roaders have argued that the government lists species and sets aside land too quickly and without enough scientific evidence.
Chairman Pombo is working with other members of Congress, state and local lawmakers of both parties to craft a better approach. The SEMA-supported legislation calls for mediation before lawsuits, more scientific input on identifying threatened species and creating recovery plans, more local input and a different approach to setting aside critical habitat. The focus would be on saving species, not just locking up land.
“What they’re doing right now in terms of the science is not working,” Chairman Pombo said to the Summit participants. “Let’s go in and do field studies; let’s go in and look at what the habitat is; let’s determine whether or not the species truly is endangered before we put it on the list. Once that determination has been made, let’s come up with a recovery plan; let’s designate a habitat; let’s move forward and focus on recovery, and not focus on the bureaucracy as we are doing now.”
A House Resources Subcommittee also held a hearing on Motorized Recreational Use on Federal Land. Representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management discussed efforts to regulate OHV use on federal lands due to their growing popularity. The agencies will be designating “officially sanctioned roads and trails” for OHVs. Off-road community representatives emphasized that there are scores of user-created roads and trails that don’t yet appear on Forest Service maps. They want these inventoried so that they can be officially sanctioned.
“The agencies are currently inventorying the roads and trails, a process that could take years,” said Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network. “SEMA has alerted the Forest Service that many of these routes came into existence during “open” management. They serve a legitimate need and do not pose an environmental threat. In some cases, these uninventoried routes may even be more environmentally friendly and provide a better overall access solution than their inventoried counterparts.
Additional information is available on the federal land use page on the www.semasan.com website.
Wilderness Bills: For the third time in three years, the Senate voted to create the 106,000-acre Wild Sky Wilderness in Washington’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The Senate also passed legislation to designate as wilderness 300,000 acres in Northern California’s Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties. Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) would be banned from the areas since wilderness is by definition “roadless.” The SAN opposes the legislation since it would close existing, legal OHV roads and trails. Alternatively, the SAN supports a “backcountry designation” that would generally protect the lands as wilderness but also designate areas for motorized recreation where appropriate. It is unclear when or if the House will take up the two Senate bills.
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Illinois Blue Dots: A SAN-supported bill that would allow antique vehicles to display a blue light of up to one-inch diameter as part of the vehicle’s rear stop lamps was signed into law by Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. The measure recognizes that blue dot taillights have no detrimental impact on safety and enables enthusiasts to modify their vehicles to recall in fine detail the glory days of America’s hot rod era. The new Illinois law follows in the tradition of similar laws enacted recently in Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Rhode Island and Georgia.
New York Spinners: SAN-opposed legislation that would have prohibited the sale and use of motor vehicles equipped with spinner hubcaps died in the New York Legislature when the session adjourned for the year. The bill would have subjected vehicle owners to fines of up to $750 for a third or subsequent violation. Those convicted of selling spinner hubcaps would have been fined $150 for each violation. The measure ignored the fact that custom wheels are not prohibited by Federal law and that spinner hubcaps have no proven detrimental effect on motor vehicle safety. New York was the latest state to attempt a ban on spinners. Earlier this year, the SAN defeated similar legislation in Iowa and Virginia. The bill may be considered again in 2006.
SEMA To Work With California Officials to Address Vehicle Profiling
California state officials announced the first in a series of $5 million in state grants targeting illegal street racing. According to these officials, the grants would pay for training to enable police officers to recognize automobiles that have been illegally modified for street racing; provide funds for officer overtime in connection with joint enforcement operations; and establish illegal street racing education presentations to high school and college students. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) is making itself available to provide technical support for the program. Law enforcement officers can contact BAR technical experts to get advice on whether modifications to street-racing vehicles violate California's laws against emission-system tampering. Notably, owners of illegally modified cars can be cited for failing to meet state emissions standards, which can lead to substantial fines and fees.
“Most of these vehicle modifications are legal under California law,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. SEMA has been meeting with state and local officials for years to underscore that they should not profile drivers and target accessorized vehicles. SEMA and the SAN will continue to pursue this message in Sacramento and around the state while directing attention to the SEMA-sponsored Racers Against Street Racing ( http://www.rasr.info/ ) program designed to take illegal racing off the streets without unfairly targeting legally modified vehicles.
Calling All Car Clubs
Entry Forms Available October 1 for annual Eagle One Golden Rule Awards
Eagle One has announced the availability of entry forms for its annual Golden Rule Awards. A total of $7,000 in cash donations and products for fund-raising purposes will be awarded to car clubs in four regions judged to have conducted the most outstanding community service program in their region during 2005.
Entry forms are available from October 1 to November and can be downloaded at www.eagleone.com or by calling (818) 501-1445. Deadline for entries will be December 23, 2005.
Cash donations of $1,000 each by Eagle One and associate sponsor Valvoline will provide $500 contributions to a favorite charity or charities of each of the four winning clubs.
Winners and runners-up will also receive a generous supply of Eagle One’s Bucket-Free Car Wash, Wax As-U-Dry, NanoWax, All Wheel & Tire Cleaner and Tire Shine, as well as Valvoline MaxLife motor oil, for fund-raising purposes.
Winners will be notified by January 30, 2006.
Eagle One products are part of the Valvoline family of brands.
HEY, THAT'S MY CAR!
“We’re on a mission...”
Owners: John & Susan Vukovich
Newport News, Virginia
Said John: When I purchased my current home in Newport News back in 1998, it didn’t take long for me to notice that there was a Plain-Jane 1974 Dodge Monaco four-door sedan parked about 10 houses away from mine. After six long years of telling the man that I really wanted the car, I saw “for sale” signs in the car’s windows. I quickly paid his asking price of $400 and drove it home. A friend of mine painted it to match the Blues Brothers movie car, and another friend fabricated the push bars. I added a spotlight that I had laying around and added a six-speaker sound system, complete with four speakers that play inside the car and two boat speakers on an A/B switch that play outside the car when I do parades and car shows. Cruising around with the hat and sunglasses on while the Peter Gunn Theme plays for everyone usually gets a great reaction. The elderly original owner of the car had never even heard of the Blues Brothers and once asked why I painted “his” car this way. I’ll have to loan him the video some time soon.
Believe it or not, the Bluesmobile is my daily driver, rain or shine, and has never even come close to being put on a trailer to attend an out-of-town show! The original engine is still going strong with over 230,000 miles on it, and it has never been out of the car. As a matter of fact, it has never been washed or cleaned in any way since it was painted over two years ago! I even had to hot-glue the cigarette butts to the dashboard to keep them from sliding away.
We Get Letters
We recently joined the SEMA Action Network and have received Driving Force and the legislative action alerts for New York. Although our State Legislature has adjourned for the year what can we do to help prepare for next year?
-- Marc and Susan Stevens
Marc & Susan,
Thank you for your letter and your participation in the SEMA Action Network (SAN). While most legislatures are adjourned for the year, it is important to use this time to develop relationships with your elected officials and educate them on the auto hobby. Use this connection to inform lawmakers how auto-related legislation will affect your vehicle or your club. Invite your local legislators to your cruise-ins, cars shows, meetings, and rallies. Give them an opportunity to see that your club, council or association is a large, influential and important part of their constituency. Developing this positive relationship will play a key role when legislation is introduced that impacts the auto hobby.
You can also use this opportunity to discuss SEMA-model legislation that has been crafted to address some of the issues that greatly impact our hobby. Copies of the model legislation, which include street rod/custom vehicle titling and registration; inoperable vehicles; the permissible use of nitrous; and legislation establishing an exhaust noise testing program can be downloaded and printed from the SAN website at www.semasan.com.
With ongoing threats and pro-hobby opportunities at all levels of government, car clubs and individual enthusiasts need to become more politically active to protect our way of life now and to preserve it for the future. For additional information on ways to become more involved, please contact the SAN at (202) 783-6007, ext. 39 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 9-11, Jerome
Sponsor: Arizona Bus Club
Information: email@example.com or 602/738-2196
September 16-18, Cayucos
San Jose 40 Fest
Sponsor: the Forties Limited of Orange County
September 24-25, Gorman
CORVA Southern Jamboree at Hungry Valley SVRA
September 25, Long Beach
Mustangs at the Queen Mary
Sponsor: Beach City Mustang Club
Information: www.bcmc.net or 562/498-2262
September 30-October 2, Bakersfield
California National Hot Rod Reunion
Sponsor: Automobile Club of Southern California
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 909/622-8562
September 9-11, Colorado Springs
8th Colorado Springs Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com or 925/838 9876
September 22-26, Durango
MGCC Road Trip to Durango
Sponsor: MG Car Club of England, Rocky Mtn. Centre
Information: email@example.com or 303/306-6974
September 18, Wilmington
10th Annual Hagley Antique Car Show
Information: www.hagley.org or 302/658-2400
September 11, Kane County Fairgrounds
35th Annual Midwest Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Midwest Model T Ford Club
Information: www.midwestswap.com or 847/669/3848
September 11, Oak Brook
Sponsor: Northern Illinois Fiero Enthusiasts
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 630/983-6434
September 16-17, Galena
Quad State 2005
Sponsor: Illinois Valley Olds Chapter, Oldsmobile Club of America
Information: http://ivoc-olds.com/ or email@example.com
September 18, La Grange Park
Plymouth Place Buick, Chrysler, and Pontiac 5th Annual Car Show
September 18, Naperville
8th Annual Trip to Village Pontiac & GMC All Pontiac/GMC Car Show
Sponsor: Pontiac-Oakland Club Int’l, Illinois Chapter
September 11, Porter County Fairgrounds
WOAC Car Show
Sponsor: Winamac Old Auto Club
September 23-25, Indianapolis
24th Annual Advance Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Sponsor: Special Events
September 9-11, Greenfield
23rd Annual Early Wheels of Iowa
September 17, Robins
Rockin’ Robins Classic Car Show
Sponsor: Rockin’ Robins
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 319/378-0708
September 18, Dubuque
Camp Albrecht Acres Benefit Car Show
Sponsor: Tri-State Auto Club
September 16-18, Kansas City
Volvo Club of America Midwest National Meet
Sponsor: Volvo Club of America
September 23-25, Kansas City
4th Mid-Western Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com or 925/838 9876
September 23-25, Kansas City Int’l Raceway
Sponsor: National Lightning Owners Club
September 9-11, Carrollton
September in the Park Mustang and All Ford Car Show
Sponsor: Derby City Mustang Club of Louisville
Information: www.septemberinthepark.info or 502/955-6922
September 17, Plaquemine
8th Annual Open Car, Truck & Motorcycle Show
Sponsor: Baton Rouge Corvette Club
September 10, Columbia
The All-Chevy Car Show
Sponsor: Maryland Camaro Club
Information: email@example.com or 301/854-2014
September 23-25, Deep Creek Lake
Strut Your Stuff Shine and Show 2005
Sponsor: Bill Dixon
Information: www.strutyourstuffcarshow.com or 240/580-0937
September 4, Marshfield
25th Annual Car Show, Corral, and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Spindles Auto Club
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 781/335-9754
September 10, Hickory Corners
Buick Bash Car and Truck Show
Sponsor: West Michigan Chapter Buick Club of America
Information: email@example.com or 269/760-6292
September 16-18, Springfield
17th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall Street Machine Nationals
Sponsor: Special Events
September 11, Omaha
24th Annual Mopar Auto Show
Sponsor: Rapid Transit System Club
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 402/593-6080
September 25, Folsom
Memorial Fall Car Show
Sponsor: Cruisin’ Classics Auto Club, FACA
Information: www.cruisinclassics.net or 609/561-2581
September 23-25, Los Lunas
NMCCC 28th Annual Swap Meet
Sponsor: New Mexico Council of Car Clubs
Information: email@example.com or 505/884-7912
September 9-11, Lake George
17th Annual Adirondack Nationals Car Show
Sponsor: Albany Hot Rods and Customs
Information: www.adirondacknationals.com or 518/821-6237
September 16-18, Rhinebeck
14th East Coast Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com or 925/838 9876
September 24, Indian Trail
25th Annual CRMC Mustang and All-Ford Show
Sponsor: Carolina Regional Mustang Club
September 9-11, Mechanicsburg
Corvair Days Convention
Sponsor: Central Pa. Corvair Club
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 301/262-0978
September 28-October 2, Carlisle
30th Annual Fall Carlisle
Information: email@example.com or 717/243-7855
September 3, Dresden
5th Annual Dresden Benefit Car Show
September 16-18, Norwalk
8th Norwalk Chrysler Classic
Sponsor: Classic Events
Information: www.classicevents.com or 614/268-1181
September 18, McConnelsville
22nd Annual M&M Jaycees All Open “Cruise-In”
Sponsor: M&M Jaycee’s
September 24, Columbus
17th Annual Moose Hunt 12
September 25, Oklahoma City
5th Annual Fall Classic Open Car Show
Sponsor: Central Oklahoma Pontiac Association
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 405/755-0459
September 10-11, Sandy
Sandy Oktoberfest Cruisin’ Car Show 2005
Sponsor: Oregon Council of Vehicle Associations
Information: email@example.com or 503/668-4096
September 24, Portsmouth
Little Rhody Car Show
Sponsor: Little Rhody Pontiac Chapter
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 410/934-0663
September 23-25, Mitchell
1st Annual Outkasts Car Club Cruise In and Hot Rod Show
Sponsor: Outkasts Car Club
Information: email@example.com or 605/996-7203
September 24, Pulaski
22nd Annual Antique Car Show
Sponsor: Pulaski Area Car Enthusiasts
September 11, Seabrook
Cruisin’ Times Magazine Show
Sponsor: Texas Cruisers
Information: www.cruisintimes.com/hallflames.html or 713/695-3508
September 30 - October 2, Fort Worth
13th Lone Star Nationals
Information: www.good-guys.com or 925/838 9876
September 9-10, Brigham City
27th Annual Peach Days Family Picnic Car Show and Fun-Run
Sponsor: Bonnevills Rod & Custom Car Show
September 18, Charlottesville
31st Piedmont Region AACA Car Show
Sponsor: Piedmont Region AACA
September 23-24, Arrington
13th Annual VA4WDA Trail Ride and Poker Run
Sponsor: Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association
September 18, Sheboygan
20th Annual Riverfront Custom Car Show
Sponsor: Kettle Moraine Corvette Club
Information: www.oopcd.com/kmcc or 920/467-2833
September 11, St. Albans
1st Annual Car and Bike Show
Sponsor: Kustomized Kreations
Early October 2005 Events
October 1, Benton
27th Annual Car and Truck Show
Sponsor: Dixie Car Club
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 501/315-2882
October 2, Barrington
8th Annual Classic and Antique Auto Show
Sponsor: Buick Club of America, Chicagoland Chapter
October 1, Greensboro
AMO Southeast Regional 2005
Sponsor: Carolina AMC
Information: 336/ 434-4519
October 1, Lahaska
Brits at the Village
Sponsor: Philadelphia MG Club
On The Road Again
We invite you to stop by and meet with Jason Tolleson, director of the SEMA Action Network, at these events in September:
16th Annual Route 66 Rendezvous
San Bernardino, CA