The Canadian Department of the Environment has delayed action for one year on a proposal that would terminate the current exemption from environmental restrictions for leaded gasoline used in competition motor vehicles. Under the revised regulation, the exemption will remain in place until January 1, 2010.
The extended period will allow all racing events in 2008 and 2009 to proceed while providing time for regulators to conduct further studies on the health risks of leaded fuel use at race facilities. The last study of this type was conducted in 1997.
In 2006, competition motor vehicles comprised only 1.5% of all leaded gasoline consumed in Canada. The aviation industry, which owns a permanent exemption from the ban, accounts for the other 98.5%.
In their announcement, government officials highlighted the significance of the economic impact a leaded fuel ban would have on race tracks, local and racing-affiliated businesses. With an estimated 165 racing facilities across Canada, the closure of these facilities would also have a negative effect on restaurants, campgrounds, motels and other small businesses.
“While this is just a temporary reprieve, it does provide an opportunity to further educate regulators on the vital role the racing industry plays in the Canadian economy,” said SAN Director Jason Tolleson. “The additional time should provide ample opportunity for the development of a fair policy that will balance the interests of the racing community and the economy with any environmental concerns.”
A special thanks goes to the National Association of Antique Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation for mobilizing their membership against this short-sighted proposal.