SEMA Action Network Mobilizes to Save the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) is where racing began. Beginning in 1914, legendary racers have sought to break land speed records or achieve a personal best. But for decades, the BSF has decreased in size, thickness and strength because salt has been removed by an adjoining potash mining operation. The SAN is now urging the government to require a mandatory salt replenishment program.
Preservation of the BSF is under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM recently issued an "Environmental Assessment" (E.A.) of the current mining operation that addresses future salt replenishment. The E.A., for which the BLM is seeking public comment through November 7, provides three options, including a voluntary replenishment approach and doing nothing. The SEMA Action Network is pursuing a nationwide SAN campaign urging the BLM to adopt the second option ("Alternative B"), which requires a permanent salt replacement program. Under this option, salt removed from Bonneville to obtain potash will be replaced in the same amount or more. The current mine owner, Intrepid Potash - Wendover, LLC, actually proposed and supports this approach.
"The SAN is optimistic that the BLM will adopt the mandatory approach in the near future," said Stuart Gosswein, SEMA's Sr. Director of Federal Government Affairs. "We can then focus attention on pumping salt back onto the flats this winter and establishing long-term programs to increase the surface thickness."
For years, the enthusiast community has sounded the alarm bells about the disappearing salt flats. For decades, mineral saturated water has been collected from open ditches and an underground aquifer in and around the BSF. The solution is pumped into huge ponds on private mining lands from which potash is extracted through an evaporation process (which accounts for just 3 percent of the unused salt brine).
Until the 1990s, millions of tons of salt were withdrawn from the BSF in a one-way collection system. As a result, the depth of the racing area went from five feet to several inches. The racing community then worked with the previous mine owner to establish a 5-year prototype program to pump salt brine back onto the BSF. It helped stabilize the area and was deemed a qualified success. Under the current BLM proposal, "Alternative B" would mandate replenishment on a one-to-one basis, if not more.
In order to secure a permanent replenishment program, SAN has joined with a number of other prominent motorsports organizations to form the "Save the Salt Coalition" [www.savethesalt.org]. Throughout the spring and summer of 2011, the Coalition raised the visibility of the issue before the public and Congress. In addition to the mandatory program to be undertaken by the mine operator, the Coalition will pursue supplemental replenishment activities to rebuild the salt surface. This will include asking the BLM to participate. The agency has had the responsibility of managing and protecting this National Landmark since 1946 and has collected millions of dollars in license fees and mining royalties since that time.
Although the Coalition's message has been heard, much hard work remains. Given the dire state of the BSF, it will take many years to restore a significant amount of salt. In the coming months, the Coalition will identify additional efforts to be undertaken by both the enthusiast community and the BLM so that an abundant amount salt is returned to its home. Stay tuned....
LEGISLATIVE QUICK HITS
Connecticut Antique Vehicles:Legislation that threatened to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as "antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles" died when the Connecticut Legislature adjourned for the year. Opposed by the SAN, the bill had been approved in committee and amended to increase the age requirement for registration as an antique to 30 years old and increase the tax assessment amount on vehicles registered as antiques to $2,500. Currently, vehicles 20 years old or older are eligible for antique status. Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles are currently assessed at a rate of $500 and owners pay personal property taxes on that amount.
Illinois Antique Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to provide for an expanded-use antique vehicle registration class that would allow antique vehicles and replicas to be driven without limitation during the warmer part of the year (April 1 through October 31) was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn. Under the new law, expanded-use antiques are limited to traveling to and from car shows, exhibitions, servicing or demonstration during the colder months (November 1 through March 31). Regular antique vehicle registration is still available for a lower fee to hobbyists who would prefer only operating their vehicle on a limited-use basis throughout the year. The expanded-use antique registration plate will be available at an annual fee of $45. The limited-use antique plate remains available at a fee of $13 for a two-year registration. In Illinois, an antique vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle more than 25 years of age, a bonafide replica or a fire-fighting vehicle more than 20 years old which is not used as fire-fighting equipment. The law becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2012.
Michigan Vehicle Miles-Traveled Tax: SAN is supporting Michigan legislation that would prohibit the state from imposing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax or mileage-based user fee on motor vehicles. This prohibition would also include any global-positioning-satellite-based toll or similar program that would provide for the locational tracking of private motor vehicles or users. In addition, the bill prohibits the state from accepting funding to implement a study or pilot program for the same purposes. As a general matter, SAN opposes VMT taxes, but supports policies that balance the interests of the motoring publicwith reasonable means to reduce reliance on foreign oil and create incentive-laden programs to help clean the air.
Nevada Emissions Exemption: SAN submitted comments to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles in support of a proposed regulation that would exempt classic vehicles and classic rods, among other hobby vehicles, from emissions testing if the owner certifies that the vehicle has not been driven more than 5,000 miles the previous year. Currently, these vehicles are subject to a 2,500 mile per year limit to qualify for an emissions exemption and must pass an initial two-speed idle emissions inspection to qualify. The proposal is the product of legislation passed earlier this year by the Nevada State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval.
Pennsylvania Antiques, Classics and Collectibles: A bill to allow antique, classic and collectible vehicles to register under a seasonal registration class was passed by the House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate Transportation Committee. The measure would permit a collector car owner to specify which months they would like to register the vehicle. The fee would be set at the same amount as the annual registration fee on these vehicles, but insurance for the vehicle would only be required for the months specified in the seasonal use registration.
10 Best and Worst Bills of 2011
As the state legislatures close down their legislative sessions, the Driving Force resumes its yearly feature highlighting the best and worst automotive bills of 2011. While some of these bills were enacted into law, many did not make it through this year and could be reintroduced in future sessions. Keep an eye out and get ready to help us support the best and oppose the worst in 2012!
1. Washington S.B. 5586: Prohibits cities or towns from restricting inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property if screened from public view. Bill was not enacted into law.
2. New York A.B. 2080/ S.B./ S.B. 3213 : Creates a $100 one-time fee that would replace the current annual fee of $28.75 for the registration of historical motor vehicles. Bill was not enacted into law.
3. Maryland H.B. 155 , New Jersey A.B. 448/S.B. 687, New Mexico S.B. 412, New York A.B. 2073/S.B. 201, Texas H.B. 890, Washington S.B. 5585: Creates vehicle registration and titling classifications for street rods and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas, and provides for special license plates. The Texas and Washington bills were enacted into law.
4. Connecticut S.B. 723: Extends the emissions inspection exemption to vehicles 5 model years old or newer. Bill was not enacted into law.
5. Illinois H.B. 3256: Provides for an expanded-use antique vehicle registration class that would allow antique vehicles and replicas to be driven without limitation during the warmer part of the year, from April 1 through October 31. Bill was enacted into law.
6. Michigan H.B. 4885: Prohibits the state from imposing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax or mileage-based user fee on motor vehicles, to include any global-positioning-satellite-based toll or similar program that would provide for the locational tracking of private motor vehicles or users. Bill was not enacted into law.
7. North Carolina H.B. 187: Requires ethanol content labels on all pumps that dispense ethanol-blended gasoline. Bill was enacted into law.
8. Oklahoma S.B. 160: Allows municipalities to issue permits for sanctioned motor vehicle racing events on public streets and highways within its geographical jurisdiction. Bill was enacted into law.
9. Tennessee H.B. 688: Exempts vehicles more than 25-years old from the state's annual emissions inspection and maintenance program. Previous law in Tennessee only exempted vehicles manufactured before the 1975 model year from emissions inspection. Bill was enacted into law.
10. West Virginia H.B. 2456: Allows vehicle hobbyists to install and use aftermarket modified exhaust systems that meet a 95-decibel limit under a fair and predictable test. Bill was not enacted into law.
1. West Virginia H.B. 2190: Includes vehicles with exhaust systems deemed too loud, as determined by an enforcement officer's subjective opinion, in the definition of "disturbing the peace," a crime that carries a fine of up to $1,000 per occurrence, jail for six months, or both. Bill was not enacted into law.
2. Arkansas H.B. 1252: Allows cities to remove an inoperable vehicle from private property if the vehicle is deemed a "nuisance" under a local ordinance. Bill was not enacted into law.
3. Connecticut H.B. 5580: Increases from 20 to 30 years old, the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as "antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles" and increases the tax assessment on vehicles registered as antiques from $500 to $2,500. Bill was not enacted into law.
4. Hawaii H.B. 1178: Bans the installation, ownership or use of any car with aftermarket speakers over 6.5 inches in height or depth, any 5 speaker aftermarket system, any aftermarket speaker over 100 watts and any aftermarket speaker installed external to the passenger compartment or in an open hatch back. Bill was not enacted into law.
5. Massachusetts H.B. 1848, New York A.B. 1318: Imposes additional fees on the purchase of larger or higher-emitting vehicles, based on state calculations of carbon emissions and/or vehicle weight. Bills were not enacted into law.
6. Nebraska L.B. 698: Removes labeling requirements on pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline. Bill was not enacted into law.
7. North Dakota H.B. 1442: Prohibits the modification of any motor vehicle that altered the manufacturer's original suspension, steering or brake system. Bill was not enacted into law.
8. Oregon H.B. 3214: Prohibits the sale of exhaust systems and exhaust system components that cause motor vehicles to produce noise exceeding certain undetermined noise limits. Bill was not enacted into law.
9. Oregon H.B. 3147: Bans vehicles whose bumpers were elevated more than 3 inches over the original manufactured bumper clearance and imposes a fine of up to $360 per offense. Bill was not enacted into law.
10. Washington H.B. 1134: Requires an annual renewal fee of $30 (added to the one-time $35 license plate fee) for collector vehicle and horseless carriage license plates. Bill was not enacted into law.
Each month, Driving Force features members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The SEMA-supported caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, almost 525 members strong, whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles.
Here are its newest members:
Alabama Senator Bill Holtzclaw
New Hampshire Representative Laurie Sanborn
West Virginia Delegate Allen V. Evans
New Hampshire Senator Peter Bragdon
"New State Legislative Tracker Joins the Team"
The SAN Welcomes Its New Research Manager
Greg Dooley has joined SEMA's Government Affairs office in Washington DC as the association's new Research Manager. The Research Manager is charged with identifying issues and developments of importance to the SEMA Action Network's lobbying objectives. He will work to monitor and analyze state legislative and regulatory initiatives on a daily basis and assist the Vice President of Government Affairs by conducting pertinent research efforts.
Greg has been an avid car enthusiast his entire life, having grown up in a family of Mustang owners. After helping restore a 1965 GT Convertible and eager to start another project with his father, Greg saved up and bought his first car at age 16: a 1972 Mustang Convertible with a 302 Cleveland V8. The family still owns both cars and enjoys attending car shows and cruise nights in the Greater Boston area.
Since then, he has also owned a lifted 1988 Jeep Wrangler and a 1999 Ducati Monster. He is currently the proud owner of a 1977 Austin Mini and a 2006 Harley Sportster 1200R.
This year, Greg graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science. While in college, he served a research internship in London, England with the Parliamentary Office of Andrew Percy. "I look forward to working here in the Capitol to protect and promote the automotive hobby," Greg remarked. "I hope to continue SEMA's excellent reputation of advocating for enthusiast's rights and am proud to be a new member of the organization."
Please feel free to contact Greg with any questions you might have or to submit events for Driving Force. He can be reached at 202/783-6007 ext. 38 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey, That's My Car!
Owner: Terry & Angie Hallman, Pottstown, PA
In 1982, I purchased a 1967 Chevelle-Malibu, with an original 327 4 speed. Shortly thereafter, our twin boys were born and soon the Chevelle had to be sold in lieu of a family place at the New Jersey Shore. As our boys got older, their love for the Shore diminished and we sold our house.
At that time, we started going to car shows again. After a few years of attending shows, I decided that I could not go to another one without a car of my own. I started looking around and found a 1967 Chevelle-Malibu, very similar to the one I owned many years prior. It was basically the same color, Marina Blue, originally equipped with a 6 cylinder engine and power glide transmission. The engine was removed and replaced with a 327/325 motor and 350 turbo automatic from a Corvette.
Although the car looked good and performed well, I decided to continue with a few more modifications. I installed a Crane cam and lifters, Dynomax headers and a Pete Jackson gear drive. Soon after, I added a new Holley 650 double pumper carburetor with an Edelbrock performer manifold.
Finally, I was ready to upgrade the interior. The seats, doors, headliner and carpet were completely replaced. Then the Chevelle was repainted its original Marina Blue. Lastly, the original front drum brakes were removed and replaced with Master Power disc brakes.
With the Chevelle finally in great shape, my wife and I joined the Pottstown Classics Car Club and attended many car shows around the tri-state area. I happily drove the Chevelle for a few years, but eventually got the itch again to do something big. I decided to install a 408 cubic inch engine with a Holley 750 double pumper carburetor that now produces about 410 horsepower.
I have no additional modifications planned for now and am looking forward to many trips to area car shows soon.
$1,500 Grand Prize For Car Club Winning Eagle One Golden Rule Award
A $1,500 donation to a favorite charity awaits the car club that wins the grand prize in the annual Eagle One Golden Rule Awards contest. Three other winners will receive a $500 donation to a favorite charity. Grand total of $3,000 will be presented by Eagle One and associate sponsor Valvoline.
A winner will be selected in four regions of the U.S.: west, midwest, east and south. Each will receive the award for the most exemplary charity and community service program in their region during 2011. The grand prize will be awarded to one of the four clubs judged to have performed the most compassionate deed. Clubs will also receive a generous supply of Eagle One appearance care products and Valvoline motor oil for fund-raising purposes, as well as a custom-designed trophy.
An entry form will be available for download from the Eagle One website (www.eagleone.com) through December 10. It can also be obtained by calling (818) 501-1445. Deadline for entries is December 31, 2011. Winners will be notified by February 10, 2012.
NOVEMBER 2011 SAN CLUB EVENTS
November 18-20, Scottsdale
14th Southwest Nationals
November 5, Victorville
16th Annual Classic Car Show
Sponsor: Route 66 Museum
Info:http://www.califrt66museum.org/ or CART66MUSM@AOL.COM
November 11-13, Borrego Springs
45th Early Bronco Anniversary
Sponsor: Early Bronco Registry
November 12, Huntington Beach
2nd Annual Surf City USA Car Show
Sponsor: D&P Classic Chevy and Danchuk Manufacturing
Info: http://golden567shows.com/about.html or email@example.com
November 25-27, Del Mar
1st Fall Del Mar Nationals
November 26-28, Pleasanton
22nd Autumn Get-Together
November 13, Denver
Dust 'n Shine at Forney Transportation Museum
Sponsor: MG Car Club Rocky Mountain Centre
November 3, Port Saint Lucie
Kustom Air Kewled Car Show
Sponsor: Treasure Coast Vintage Car Club
Info: 772/337-6189 or http://www.tcvcc.com/
November 5, Fernandina Beach
Eight Flags Car Show-
Sponsor: Amelia Cruizers Car Club
Info: 904/277-8693 or http://www.ameliacruizers.org/
November 5, Defuniak Springs
End of Summer Blowout
Sponsor: Chautauqua Cruisers
Info: 850/892-2042 or www.chautauquacruisers.com/
November 6, Bonita Springs
Vette Together for Charity
Sponsor: Corvette of Naples
Info: 239/910-2027 or corvettesofnaplesfl.com/
November 7-12, Panama City
Emerald Coast Cruizin'
Sponsor: Cruisin' Style Magazine
Info: 662/587-9527 or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 5, Hampton
Peachstate PCA's Parade of Porsches
Sponsor: Automobile Atlanta
Info: email@example.com or 770-846-0440
November 12, Locust Grove
6th Annual Santa Cruise
Sponsor: Georgia Street Rod Association
Info: www.gsra.com/ or 770/464-1327
November 13, Sioux City
Fall Racers and Rodders Swap Meet
Sponsor: Minnesota Street Rod Association
Info: www.msra.com/ or 712/239-6199
November 19-20, Chicago
Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
Sponsor: Nickey Chicago
Info: www.mcacn.com/ or 773/908-8668
November 5, Richmond
39 Annual Rod and Custom Car Show
Sponsor: Vintage Wheels Car Club
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or 765/855-1482
November 6, Westminster
Show Before Snow
Sponsor: Mid Maryland Ford Club
Info: 301-570-2077 or email@example.com
November 6, Glen Burnie
Veterans Appreciation Show
Sponsor: Street Survivors of Maryland
Info: www.streetsurvivorsofmaryland.com/index.html or 410/599-5578
November 4-5, Las Vegas
Sponsor: Nevada AMC Club
Info: www.snamc.amcrc.com/ or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 26, Charlotte
Turkey Day Madness Car Show
Sponsor: Koss Motorsports
Info: email@example.com or 803/320-3193
November 5, Perkasie
14th Annual Fall Car Show
Sponsor: Vargo Dragway
Info: www.vargodragway.com/ or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 19-20, Philadelphia
Elegance of Speed Automobilia Show
Sponsor: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Info: eleganceofspeed.com/ or email@example.com
November 18-20, Jasper
11th Annual Rod Run
Sponsor: Lakes Area Cruisers
November 5-6, Bremerton
Sponsor: Olympic Vintage Auto Club
Info: 360/368-2404 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cruisin' for a Cause
Neighborhood Cruisers, Stony Point, New York
SEMA Action Network (SAN) car clubs throughout the country are always taking the lead on charitable causes in their local communities. One group in particular is helping families in the New York Hudson Valley who are faced with financial hardships. Founded in 2001, the Neighborhood Cruisers of Stony Point, New York have combined their love of cars with a sense of community involvement. Every Monday during the spring and summer months the Neighborhood Cruisers meet in Stony Point to display their cars and raise funds to assist local families. The fundraisers culminate in a large event held every year. The Neighborhood Cruisers hosted their 10th Annual "Cruisin' for Kids" Car Show in early August to raise additional money for children with significant medical hardships. Hundreds of enthusiasts from the area come together at this event for a day-long car show featuring live local bands, vendors, and community organizations. All funds raised at the summer cruises and the "Cruisin' for Kids" event goes to the families in need. This year, SEMA's Congressional Affairs Manager Dan Sadowski, a Stony Point native, attended the event and presented Neighborhood Cruisers President Bob DuBois with a copy of U.S. Senate Resolution 154, designating "Collector Car Appreciation Day" to show the SAN's gratitude for the charitable work of the Neighborhood Cruisers in the local community. For more information on the Neighborhood Cruisers, please visit www.cruisinforkids.org