15 September 2016
Dear Director Gina McCarthy,
Hello Director McCarthy and the dedicated employees of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). My name is Rickey Dale Holtsclaw. I am an honorably retired thirty-one-year veteran of the Houston Police Department. During my tenure with the Houston PD, I served in radio patrol, motorcycle patrol and as a commercial rotorcraft patrol pilot. During my enforcement years, traffic enforcement was a major part of my patrol responsibilities and it was during those traffic enforcement years that I gained an experiential knowledge of motor vehicle laws, especially laws relevant to motor vehicle noise emissions and the strategies involved in successfully enforcing and adjudicating vehicular noise violations.
The subject of this letter and the evidence provided relevant to same is based on my hands-on experiences as a law enforcement officer and avid motorcyclist, but the sincere and heartfelt request for your Agency’s intercession comes from the heart and concerns of a Husband, a Father, a Grandfather. The subject of this letter is the role of the Environmental Protection Agency relevant to the exponential increase, OUT OF CONTROL, vehicular noise problem on our Interstates, roadways and within the communities of America. Though illegally modified and illegally equipped automobiles and medium-to-heavy duty trucks are a major source of NOISE pollution, this letter is focused on the most egregious source of vehicular noise pollution confronting the American Citizen on a daily basis, the modified or illegally equipped motorcycle operated by men and women within a subculture of the motorcycling community I commonly refer to as the Loud Motorcycle Culture.
Some 60% to 80% of the roadway-use motorcycles operating on the public roadways of the United States have had their US EPA compliant, factory-installed muffler removed and replaced with a “NOT FOR ROAD USE,” CLOSED-COURSE, COMPETITION aftermarket exhaust (many are unlabeled) that emits between four-and-eight+ times (measured on a logarithmic scale) the legal 80 dB(A) stipulated as the minimum safe level of motorcycle noise exposure for the general public. I have provided a partial list of aftermarket manufacturing companies in the addendum accompanying this letter.
In 1972, the United States Congress passed the “Noise Control Act” and prefaced said Act with the following statement,
42 U.S. Code § 4901 – Congressional findings and statement of policy
(a) The Congress finds—
(1) that inadequately controlled noise presents a growing danger to the health and welfare of the Nation’s population, particularly in urban areas;
(2) that the major sources of noise include transportation vehicles and equipment, machinery, appliances, and other products in commerce; and
(3) that, while primary responsibility for control of noise rests with State and local governments, Federal action is essential to deal with major noise sources in commerce control of which require national uniformity of treatment.
(b) The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare. To that end, it is the purpose of this chapter to establish a means for effective coordination of Federal research and activities in noise control, to authorize the establishment of Federal noise emission standards for products distributed in commerce, and to provide information to the public respecting the noise emission and noise reduction characteristics of such products.
In 1981, the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) was de-funded at which time the United States Environmental Protection Agency stepped-back from an active role in environmental noise issues and delegated complete responsibility for noise control to the States and Local Governments. Director McCarthy, our State and Local Law Enforcement entities have miserably failed the vehicular NOISE beleaguered citizenry for over five-decades. A change to the failed status quo is long over do; therefore, I plead for the EPA’s intercession.
The US EPA declares,
In the past, EPA coordinated all federal noise control activities through its Office of Noise Abatement and Control. EPA phased out the office’s funding in 1982 as part of a shift in federal noise control policy to transfer the primary responsibility of regulating noise to state and local governments. However, the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978 were never rescinded by Congress and remain in effect today, although essentially unfunded. https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-history-noise-and-noise-control-act
The EPA continues…
What is Noise Pollution?
The traditional definition of noise is “unwanted or disturbing sound”. Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation, or disrupts or diminishes one’s quality of life. The fact that you can’t see, taste or smell it may help explain why it has not received as much attention as other types of pollution, such as air pollution, or water pollution. The air around us is constantly filled with sounds, yet most of us would probably not say we are surrounded by noise. Though for some, the persistent and escalating sources of sound can often be considered an annoyance. This “annoyance” can have major consequences, primarily to one’s overall health.
Health Effects of NOISE Pollution as per the US EPA…
Noise pollution adversely affects the lives of millions of people. Studies have shown that there are direct links between noise and health. Problems related to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is the most common and often discussed health effect, but research has shown that exposure to constant or high levels of noise can cause countless adverse health affects.
Sources of Noise Pollution as per the US EPA…
EPA or a designated Federal agency regulates noise sources, such as rail and motor carriers, low noise emission products, construction equipment, transport equipment, trucks, motorcycles, and the labeling of hearing protection devices.
A Brief Review of the Legislative Aspects of Noise Pollution by Dr. Brind Kumar*, Sharad V. Oberoi@, Akash Goenka
With the advancement of science and technology at an unprecedented pace, the urban centers of today’s world have evolved not just in size but also in terms of the living conditions provided by them. This has brought about an increasing new awareness about the noise pollution, which has become a part of our day-to-day lives. Studies have been conducted to trace the amount of damage caused by the noise from various natural as well as man-made sources, especially traffic. In fact, noise has come to be associated with the mental, physical, emotional and psychological well-being of an individual, be it human beings or even animals. In legal terms, noise can be considered as an assault on an individual. Apparently, this is a potential hazard to the provisions of sound living conditions and needs to be checked at planning, administrative and judicial level.
The EPA, Local and State Enforcement of Vehicular Noise
During my thirty-one-year tenure with the Houston Police Department, I personally observed the exponential increase of dangerous, intrusive, illegal motor vehicle NOISE while observing, with shame, sworn law enforcement officers becoming some of the most prolific violators of the muffler laws. Not only were civilian motorcyclists cutting the mufflers off of their motorcycles or purchasing NOT FOR ROAD USE/racing exhausts and installing them on their street motorcycles, but my fellow officers were forming law enforcement motorcycle clubs and law enforcement biker gangs where the operation of an illegally equipped, illegally LOUD motorcycle was (and is) expected and was (and is) the status-quo.
Over the years, I watched as the motorcycling community morphed into organized members from the white-collar/blue-collar social strata possessing disposable income as the motorcycle also morphed from an item of novelty to a major source of transportation. The “motorcycle” became associated with a “lifestyle of freedom,” an icon of independence and individuality – a vehicle of expressed machismo.
Along with this façade came the influence of the venerable Group Dynamic and illegal motorcycle NOISE became Iconic – that NOISE is a coveted identifier within the “LOUD Biker Cult[ure]” and it is that NOISE forming the cohesive element of the motorcycle “brotherhood.” As history will confirm, where there is a need, desire or a want and where there is money to acquire that wanton desire, there will be those profit-minded suppliers to fill those desires, irrespective of the legality; therefore, I watched as a plethora of motorcycle aftermarket manufacturers emerged onto the motorcycle soundscape.
The Motorcycle Aftermarket Exhaust Industry – (an undeniable criminal conspiracy)
Director McCarthy, as I mentioned earlier, some 60% to 80% of the motorcycles operating on our public roadways today are illegally equipped with incredibly LOUD aftermarket exhaust mechanisms that mock the “protective intent” of the Code of Federal Regulations. Aftermarket motorcycle exhaust companies like Vance and Hines, Rinehart Racing, Python, Bubs, Cobra, D&D, Yoshimura…on and on the list goes. (See addendum)
These motorcycle aftermarket companies are manufacturing motorcycle exhausts that in no way conform to the NOISE and PARTICULATES emissions standards as set-forth by the US Environmental Protection Agency; emissions standards enacted/codified by the EPA specifically for the protection of the health and welfare, the quality of life of the American Citizen. This criminally conspiratorial conduct of the motorcycle aftermarket manufacturers has not manifest in secret, but these companies have thumbed their lawless, rebellious, nose at the law for many years and they’ve openly and unashamedly advertised their illegal products via the public media for decades. Director McCarthy, why has the US EPA failed to regulate the criminal conspiracy existing among the,
- Manufacturers of illegal aftermarket motorcycle exhausts?
- The Distributors of illegal aftermarket exhausts?
- The Retailers of illegal aftermarket exhausts?
- The Installers of illegal aftermarket exhausts?
- The Operators of motorcycles equipped with illegal aftermarket exhausts?
I am aware of the aftermarket exhaust manufacturers deceptive marketing tactic of covertly/discreetly labeling their products as “CLOSED COURSE” in an attempt to defer culpability while these shady companies know full well that their non-compliant, illegally LOUD and PARTICULATE-POLLUTING product is destined for installation on a street-use motorcycle. These aftermarket motorcycle exhaust companies, expressing absolutely no fear of regulatory intervention, make no attempt to conceal that fact as they blatantly and openly advertise their illegal products affixed to street motorcycles in the public media while selfishly expressing no concern for the health and welfare or the quality of life of the American Citizen.
For more information on the conspiratorial nature of the motorcycle aftermarket industry, please see the following detailed article published by Dealers News. Please understand that the carefully worded obfuscation “Shades of Gray” is actually “Black and White” as the subject relates to the marketing of illegal motorcycle aftermarket exhaust mechanisms…
SHADES OF GRAY: Selling and installing aftermarket exhausts, and the legal liabilities for dealers
The motorcycle dealerships in the United States, some possessing absolutely NO FEAR of regulatory intervention, defiantly remove the US EPA factory-installed muffler from some of their “new inventory” and install illegally LOUD aftermarket exhausts as a packaged retail marketing strategy.
Many motorcycle dealerships advertise and retail their used inventory outfitted with illegal aftermarket exhausts and lie to or ignorantly misinform their customers that the exhausts are “49-State legal” See:
“Evidence of Arkansas Vehicular Noise Conspiracy” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ–8v2S784
EPA Muffler Labels and the Motorcycle Manufacturer
Some motorcycle manufacturers, Harley Davidson in particular, are no longer placing the US EPA Muffler Label in a “readily visible location” as mandated in the Code of Federal Regulations. In order to examine the EPA muffler label, one is required to get down on their hands and knees to see the embossed label at the four to five O’clock position low. The aftermarket motorcycle exhaust companies and a number of motorcycle manufacturers are making a laughing-stock of the Code of Federal Regulations thereby expressing absolutely no concern for regulatory intervention. See my article on this subject at: https://rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/my-loud-evening-at-the-harley-dealership-truths-a-killer/
The EPA/Harley Davidson and the Truth regarding those “Super Tuners”
Personally, I am very grateful and applaud the US EPA for their recent enforcement of the Clean Air Act and regulatory lawsuits aimed at Volkswagen/Audi and Harley Davidson, but where is the EPA’s enforcement of the physiologically intrusive entity that is destroying our daily quality of life and negatively affecting our health and welfare i.e. unregulated, incredibly LOUD, physiologically dangerous, illegal motorcycle NOISE as regulated by the Noise Control Act and the Code of Federal Regulations?
The EPA sued Harley Davidson under the “Clean Air Act” for the company’s marketing/retail of super tuner devices that defeat/alter the emissions systems on their motorcycles. Fact is, these “super tuner” devices would not be necessary if the motorcycle’s owner had not tampered with or removed the factory-installed, EPA compliant muffler and replaced same with an illegal aftermarket exhaust that, in far too many instances, requires the removal of the catalytic converter and/or the O2 sensors, yet not one word was mentioned in the articles I viewed about the actual culprit that inspired the lawsuit i.e. the installation of an illegal aftermarket exhaust mechanism affecting the fuel-control system of the motorcycle thus requiring a “super-tuner” for remapping the fuel injection system.
Truth is, that aftermarket muffler was purchased for the sole purpose of making illegal NOISE for hedonistic motives – let’s face the facts…no one purchases an antiquated Harley Davidson product for its “performance” capabilities. These “Screaming Eagle” super-tuners are only necessary because the owner of the iconic Harley product sought to defeat the acoustical dampening characteristics of the quiet US EPA approved factory-installed muffler; therefore, it is the “Noise Control Act” and the Code of Federal Regulations’ “noise” emissions restriction that actually undergirded the regulatory civil action. Why was this fact not publicized?
A Heartfelt Plea for Intercession
Director McCarthy, I’m tired and I’m pleading for your assistance…
- The police negligently refuse to intercede on behalf of the motorcycle noise beleaguered citizenry. A freedom of information request I conducted revealed that in a six-month span of time, the three Arkansas Municipalities hosting major motorcycle rallies issued ZERO citations for muffler infractions, though many thousands of motorcycle, auto, truck, muffler infractions were traversing the roadways of Arkansas on a daily and nightly basis. My current State of residence, Arkansas, has enacted a very articulate motor vehicle muffler law to-wit Arkansas § 27-37-601 requiring the “factory-installed muffler” and part (B) of that statute forbids the sale/retail of an exhaust mechanism that does not conform to the specifications of the factory-installed muffler. Director McCarthy, my enforcement survey over a six-month period of time involving the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Highway Police plus four Arkansas Municipalities confirmed that not a single, NOT ONE, investigation was initiated by these enforcement entities relevant to motorcycle, automobile and truck muffler retail facilities selling and installing illegal aftermarket exhausts in direct violation of Arkansas’ State Law and Federal Law…see my personal video on this subject at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ–8v2S784 The Internet provides evidence of this law enforcement nonfeasance/non-enforcement on a Nation-wide scale. Law enforcement simply refuses to intercede on behalf of the motorcycle noise beleaguered citizenry and stare decisis, via our Federal Courts, shelters them from liability resulting from non-enforcement/non-protection via police protection exemptions – except under very specific scenarios that nullify the police protection exemption. To whom does the motorcycle noise beleaguered citizen turn for intercession seeing that our police are too participatory, apathetic and unconcerned to enforce the vehicular noise laws enacted specifically for our protection?
- Our mayors and police chiefs prostitute themselves with the Loud Biker Culture via “motorcycle rallies” where, at a minimum, 60% to 80% of the motorcycles involved in these rallies are illegally equipped, egregiously LOUD and intrusively emitting multiples of the legal 80 dB(A) total motorcycle noise emissions as mandated in the Code of Federal Regulations for 1986-year model motorcycles forward. This, while these city officials, acting under the color of law, refuse to enforce the well-established muffler laws enacted for our protection and in turn, provide “police protection” for the law breakers of the Loud Motorcycle Culture purely in the interest of profit and political expediency. Please view a sample video of the 2016 Steel Horse Motorcycle Rally in Ft. Smith, Arkansas and the Bikes, Blues, BBQ Rally – Fayetteville. Count the “legally” equipped motorcycles with their US EPA factory-installed mufflers installed: https://www.facebook.com/sholtsclaw1/videos/10208933923212601/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYQ0dfJnVE Director McCarthy, if our police won’t protect us, if our local leadership abuses the protective intent of the United States Constitution and denies the citizenry the protective intent of the well-established muffler laws, where do we turn for help? Where does a Dad turn for protection and intercession on behalf of his family that is audibly assaulted, bullied and abused by the Loud Motorcycle Culture?
- The aftermarket motorcycle industry makes a laughing-stock of the Code of Federal Regulations, but the US EPA turns a blind eye and deaf ear to their criminally conspiratorial marketing strategies while the motorcycle noise beleaguered citizens suffer. Yes, air quality is very important, but where is the much needed attention relevant to the egregious, illegal and intrusive vehicular NOISE that “daily” destroys our quality of life and endangers our health and welfare?
A National Uniformity of Treatment – (One Motorcycle Muffler Law)
Director McCarthy, please intercede on behalf of the motorcycle NOISE beleaguered citizenry. Please petition Congress to stop the vehicular noise madness and to please stop compromising themselves with the Motorcycle Rights Organizations headquartered in Washington D.C..
Please petition Congress to institute a “national uniformity of treatment” relevant to a “National Motorcycle Noise Enforcement Standard” – please stop the disparity and inherent confusion in vehicular noise laws from one State to another, from one municipality to another. This statutory inconsistency inevitably results in confusion that undermines effective enforcement protocol…the non-enforcement and non-control by law enforcement while the hedonistic purveyors of illegal motor vehicle noise run slipshod over the muffler laws enacted specifically for the protection of our health and welfare and our quality of life.
Please establish ONE National Law for motorcycle noise enforcement e.g. the US EPA approved factory-installed muffler or an aftermarket muffler conforming to the acoustical dampening characteristics of the factory-installed muffler, both of which must be properly “labeled in a readily visible location.” Please enact the “US EPA muffler label” as the National Enforcement Standard – our States and local law enforcement entities have completely failed us!
For additional information relevant to motorcycle noise enforcement protocol, please see my enforcement article, “Motorcycle Noise Enforcement – 101”: https://rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/motorcycle-noise-enforcement-101/
Also see my article: “The Truth about Loud Motorcycles the Police Won’t or Can’t tell you: https://rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/the-truth-about-loud-motorcycles-the-police-wont-or-cant-tell-you/
To observe the attitude and personality-type involved in the Loud Biker Culture, please view their comments in response to adversity toward their perceived “right” and “entitlement” to ride illegally loud: https://rickeyholtsclaw.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/loud-biker-mentality-1949-v-21st-century/
Vehicular NOISE pollution is out of control in the United States and the individual States and local authorities are unwilling to intervene and stop the vehicular NOISE madness. Director McCarthy, please…
- Regulate the unethical, conspiratorial, illegal marketing tactics of the aftermarket motorcycle industry.
- Please petition Congress to institute a National Uniformity of Treatment – Motorcycle Enforcement Protocol consisting of the US EPA muffler label as the “National Motorcycle Noise Standard” for all street-use motorcycles and to enhance the penalty phases for subsequent violations of the Federal Muffler Law. I have personally witnessed the ability of the Federal Government to motivate local and State law enforcement into action relevant to specific enforcement needs via withholding Federal Grants and funds for infrastructure maintenance and new construction as well as providing funding for police overtime initiatives for specific enforcement concerns. It can be done and you, Director McCarthy, are in a position of authority to ensure that the American Citizen is protected from the audible abuse of the Loud Motorcycle Culture.
Director McCarthy, if you opt to obfuscate and blame a lack of funding or a lack of personnel thereby refusing to intercede on our behalf, remember that our children, our posterity, will NEVER understand the concept of “domestic tranquility” as it relates to community. We plead for your assistance and intercession!
“The worst evil of disregard for some law is that it destroys respect for all law” Herbert Hoover, United States President
Rickey D. Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired
Concerned Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles – Facebook
Following, is a partial list of aftermarket motorcycle exhaust manufacturers flooding the motorcycle market and our streets with illegal, egregiously LOUD and DIRTY non-compliant motorcycle exhausts…why is this permitted to continue? Where is commonsense and common decency? Where is the care and concern for the vehicular NOISE beleaguered American Citizen? List was last edited in April/2009.
List acquired from: http://pnwriders.com/threads/exhaust-company-list.50742/
Akrapovic – http://www.akrapovic-exhaust.com
Arata – http://www.arata-ex.com/
Arrow – http://www.arrow.it
Barabbas – http://mysite.freeserve.com/barabbas
Black Hole Exhaust for BMW – http://rbracing-rsr.com/bmwexhausts.html
Black Widow – http://www.bwracing.com
Blue Flame – http://blueflameperformance.com
Boxer BMW Performance – http://www.boxer-performance.com/products.htm
Boz Bros – http://www.bozbros.com/exhausts.cfm
Carbon Can Co – http://www.carboncan.co.uk
Cobra/Eagle Exhaust – http://www.speedpro.de/auspuffset.htm
Delkevic – http://www.delkevic.co.uk/
Devil – http://www.devilbikes.com
Erion Racing – http://www.erionracing.com
Cobra F1 Exhausts – http://www.cobrausa.com/
FC Racing – http://fc-racing.com/
FMF Racing – http://www.fmfracing.com/
Foran (AU) – http://www.dropbears.com/f/foran/index.htm
Formula 1 – http://www.formula1mc.com.au/
G & G – http://www.gegbike.com/
G-Force – http://www.gforceexhausts.co.uk
Gianelli – http://www.giannelli.com/
G.P.R. – http://www.gpr.it
Hard Rock Pipes – http://www.hardrockmotorsports.com/HR1_web/HR1_web_home.html
Harpoon – http://www.harpoon.es/
Harris – http://www.harris-performance.co.uk
High-Tes Exhaust (Spain) – http://www.jacmotors.com/
Hindle – http://www.hindle.com
Dale Walker’s Holeshot – http://www.holeshot.com/
Indigo Sports – http://www.indigosports.com/
Ixil – http://www.ixil.com/
Jack Lilley – http://www.jacklilley.com
Jardine – http://www.jardineproducts.com/home.asp
Jolly Moto exhaust (IT) – http://www.jollymoto.it
K-Factory – http://www.k-factory.com
Krieger – http://www.krieger-competition.com/
Laser/Jama – http://www.laser-jama.nl/
Leo Vinci – http://www.leovince.com
Marving – http://www.marving.com/
Mecatwin – http://www.mecatwin.com/
Micron – http://www.micronexhaust.com
Mig – http://www.mig.fr
Mihara Specialty – http://www.mihara.co.jp/
MIVV – http://www.mivv.it/
Moriwaki – http://www.moriwaki.co.jp
Motad – http://www.motad.co.uk/
Muzzy – http://www.muzzys.com
Nikko – http://www.nikko-racing.com/
Nikon – http://www.nikonexhausts.co.uk/
Ninja – http://www.ninja.tm.fr
Nojima Japan – http://www.nojima-japan.co.jp/
NWS – http://www.n-w-s.com/#
Oshiro – http://www.oshiroridingtools.com/
Over Racing – http://www.over.co.jp/over_racing/index.html
Powermax – http://www.powermaxexhaust.com
Power Plant Fabrications – Super Maxx Race Exhausts – http://www.tyler6.freeserve.co.uk/
Predator – http://www.predatormotorsport.co.uk/
Promotive – http://www.promotive-exhausts.co.uk/
Raven Racing – http://www.ravenracing.co.uk/
RC Koshien – http://www.rckoshien.co.jp/
Redline Exhaust (AU) – http://redline.vcsweb.com/index.html
Another company called Redline (UK) – http://www.redlinewunoff.co.uk/
Remus – http://www.remus.au
Renegade – http://www.renegade-exhausts.com
RS Product – http://www.rsproduct.com/nouveaute.php
Sato Racing – http://www.satoracing.com
Scorpion – http://www.scorpion-exhausts.com
Sebring Technology – http://www.sebring.de/
Side Kick – http://www.sidekickperformance.co.uk
Silmotor – http://www.silmotor.com
Spec A (Yamamoto Racing) – http://www.yamamoto-eng.co.jp/
SP Tadao Racing Parts – http://www.sptadao.co.jp/
Staintune – http://www.staintune.com.au/index.html
Sudco – http://www.sudco.com/
Sugaya – http://www.srs-sugaya.com/
Supertrapp/Kerker – http://www.supertrapp.com/
Superpole – http://www.superpole.nl/
Swona – http://www.swona.com/
Thunder – http://www.thundercompetition.com/
Tigcraft – http://www.tigcraftusa.com/
Termignoni – http://www.termignoni.it/
TSR – http://www.tsrjp.com/
Tsukigi Racing – http://www.tsukigi.co.jp/
Tubi/HPE – http://www.tubistyle.it/home.htm
Two Brothers Racing – http://www.twobrothers.com
Vance & Hines – http://www.vanceandhines.com
Venom – http://www.venomexhausts.com/
Wolf – http://www.wolfracing.co.uk
Wiley Co – http://www.wileyco-racing.com
Wunoff – http://www.wunoff.co.uk
Yoshimura – http://www.yoshimura-rd.com
Zorstec – http://www.zorstec.net/
Ztechnik exhaust for BMW – http://www.ztechnik.com/