The Other News You Won’t Hear From Milwaukee…

Earlier this week we talked about the new engines that Harley-Davidson will be dropping into their touring bikes and a few CVO chassis’, and with the unrest in Milwaukee over the police, another, quieter story came slipping out.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, one of those pesky watchdog groups that seem to stir up trouble and aggravation everywhere they go, has bullied H-D into buying back and destroying the so-called “Super Tuners” they sold through the dealerships.

“This settlement immediately stops the sale of illegal aftermarket defeat devices used on public roads that threaten the air we breathe,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a news release. “Harley-Davidson is taking important steps to buy back the ‘super tuners’ from their dealers and destroy them, while funding projects to mitigate the pollution they caused.”

Give me a freakin’ break!

Harley sold these as “race only” tuners and clearly marketed them as such. You want to tune the bike for a race, you tune it for a race. Not a Sunday drive. This is like blaming my computer for a misspelled werd. Dumb.

I did really like what Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director, said in a statement: “This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition.” The cost to not admit any guilt? 15 million U.S.
Fifteen Million Dollars.

To not be guilty of doing something that to many of us are already trying to do in our driveways and garages week in and week out – make the bike faster.

Meanwhile, the very lawnmowers that cut grass for the EPA don’t have emissions controls, just burning raw fuel and spewing out hydrocarbons. Millions of VW diesels can’t pass emissions, but we’ll chase down an American company that clearly marketed the product for race use only. It boils down to blackmail on the part of the EPA, and it is absolute nonsense.

All the same, I can go to Google and buy any tuner I like as a private citizen from anywhere from $100-$500 and as long as I can plug in, I can either build the tune I want or buy them right there on the open market – and I guarantee that they aren’t emissions friendly. Clearly this is another case of “follow the money” on the part of the EPA and for one, I’m pissed.

The bottom line is this – we have a responsibility to the environment, no doubt, but fining a company for selling a product under strict circumstances and those circumstances are circumvented by the end user is ludicrous. If my Smith and Wesson pistol is stolen and then used in a crime, suing Smith and Wesson for the actions of a third party (illegal) user is far from any legal culpability that I can follow. More importantly, why not go after a larger polluter who is truly causing issues in the environment? How many bikes were really impacted and how many miles of pollutants were actually ridden? I bet that figure is just a tiny percentage of the total miles driven by vehicles that cannot pass emissions at all, or have had those systems tampered with or removed completely.

Utter silliness.

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