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EPA to effeectively halt importation of mini-truck

Discussion in 'EPA Regulations' started by Krakatoa, Oct 17, 2008.

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  1. Krakatoa

    Krakatoa New Member

    First off I apologize for the length of this post, but it is of the utmost importance that anybody who brings mini-trucks into the US be aware that the EPA have created rules that go into effect December 8th that will effectively stop you from importing mini-trucks.

    If you are an importer you may want to seek some legal advice, at a minimum you will probably want to call the EPA guys referenced in the letter below from an exporter in Japan and your elected officials. The EPA is great, our economy is already in HUGE TROUBLE, let’s put the little guy out of business while the BIG GUYS get bailed out with our TAX DOLLARS!

    The rule is part of document that 571 pages in Word. I am putting 2 and 2 together. That is I am basing my opinion on what the exporters letter says and what I was able to find in the document.

    The short of it is, that since mini-trucks were made for on-road use in Japan, they are now “new” nonroad vehicles (regardless of the year of actual manufacture) in the United States, thus they must meet EPA emission standards for new nonroad vehicles (have a “Certificate of Conformity” for each year, make and model) regardless of whether or not they have there max. speed restricted to 25 mph. Only the government can magically make a 9 year old truck brand new!

    Below is the letter from the exporter and some language from the 571 page rule making document, here is a link to all 571 pages - http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-21093.pdf

    Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:27 PM
    Subject: EPA

    To all kei importers:

    As many of you are well aware of the EPA has been bearing down hard on the importation of kei (mini) trucks. They have tightened their regulations and increased their inspections of the plates used to restrict the manual transmissions from shifting outside of 1st and reverse gears. Although there is no published standard by the EPA, which has caused a great deal of confusion and in many instances grief by importers who were subjected to having their units seized by EPA officials who deemed the existing plates unacceptable based on personal opinion even though they hadn't personally inspected the units but rather just photos sent from Custom's officials, there are means of obtaining a ruling on the plates you intend to use. This ruling of course will also be subject to an EPA official's personal opinion however because there still remains no clear published standard. I believe checks are traceable so your EPA official would probably prefer you bring cash when requesting design approval for the restrictive plates.

    Mr. David Alexander of the EPA did tell me by phone conversation that the basic model the EPA was looking for required a 1/8" thick plate with a "Z" cutout continuously welded on all 4 sides and securely welded to the vehicle chassis. He said you may submit your design for approval to the EPA prior to importing the vehicles. Mr. Alexander may be reached by phone at 202-564-2109 for further questions.

    In addition to the transmission restrictions already in effect additional EPA restrictions are scheduled to be put into place as early as December 2008. The new restrictions are aimed to govern and/or control the vehicles' emissions. According to Mr. Alan Stout of the EPA any motor vehicle that is converted from road usage to non-road usage such as the kei trucks is subject to emission controls. The EPA is looking to put into place a certification requirement for any of the imported vehicles. Both Mr. Alexander and Mr. Stout hinted that the new controls would effectively put an end to the kei imports by making it too costly for the importers to earn a profit. Many of you may see this as a purposeful trade barrier being implemented by the EPA to end kei importations for reasons that are unclear to those of you who depend on the imports to provide a livelihood for yourselves, your staff, and all of your families: you are correct that is exactly what it is!

    Next week in Michigan there will be a meeting concerning the new certification requirements and how the EPA intends to implement them. For more information please contact Mr. Alan Stout by phone at 734-214-4805 or mail at Stout.Alan@epamail.epa.gov

    Individually each and everyone of you are out there is suffering. Even before the EPA issued it's letter September 18th stating that any vehicles landing on U.S. soil before September 30th without acceptable restriction plates will be seized many of you had your products confiscated and you were not allowed to modify your vehicles within Free Trade Zones (FTZ) in order to meet personally subjective EPA guidelines. You have had your assists confiscated, your livelihoods ruined, your savings eliminated, and your concerns passively dismissed by EPA and Custom officials. Now they stand to prepared to strike the final blow to destroy your businesses and your means to provide for you and your employee's families. If provided the opportunity to go unchallenged the EPA will make it feasibly impossible for you to continue your import businesses. It is imperative that all of the importers unite to stop this tragedy before it begins.

    The first step is to contact your local representatives such as state Governors, Congressmen, and Senators to voice your concerns. It is especially imperative in an election year to voice your concerns and make it clear that you will support the person(s) that will support you and your businesses. The greater the pressure applied thru state legislative branches and their representatives the greater the chance that your voices will be heard and you will receive a favorable solution to the problem that faces you. It is important that you provide your representatives with as much information as possible in a clear format including the names, phone numbers, and if possible the title of the person(s) you have spoken with. It is necessary for the individuals that have contributed to the barriers being built against your livelihoods stand and account for their words and actions.

    The next step is to get legal representation by a person or firm that has experience dealing with governmental departments such as the EPA and Customs. Forty or fifty individual lawyers each representing different clients will get nowhere at a monumental cost. I would like to suggest that all importers consider utilizing one representative splitting the cost to minimize everyone's output while increasing your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. My suggestion would be for interested parties to contact Mr. Jeffrey Meeks a lawyer in Washington D.C. who formerly headed the U.S. Customs Department. I understand he is interested in pursuing the case however I have not had any direct contact with him as of yet. Please contact Mr. Meeks by phone at 508-696-5940 or mail at Jeffrey.Meeks@mscustoms.com

    Please pass this letter on to other importers so that as many voices as possible will be heard and represented at the EPA meeting next week and beyond.

    Semper Fi,

    From the EPA rule –

    New nonroad engine means any of the following things:

    (1) A freshly manufactured nonroad engine for which the ultimate purchaser has never received the equitable or legal title. This kind of engine might commonly be thought of as "brand new." In the case of this paragraph (1), the engine is new from the time it is produced until the ultimate purchaser receives the title or the product is placed into service, whichever comes first.

    (2) An engine originally manufactured as a motor vehicle engine or a stationary engine that is later used or intended to be used in a piece of nonroad equipment. In this case, the engine is no longer a motor vehicle or stationary engine and becomes a "new nonroad engine." The engine is no longer new when it is placed into nonroad service. This paragraph (2) applies if a motor vehicle engine or a stationary engine is installed in nonroad equipment, or if a motor vehicle or a piece of stationary equipment is modified (or moved) to become nonroad equipment.

    (3) A nonroad engine that has been previously placed into service in an application we exclude under § 1054.5, when that engine is installed in a piece of equipment that is covered by this part 1054. The engine is no longer new when it is placed into nonroad service covered by this part 1054. For example, this would apply to a marine-propulsion engine that is no longer used in a marine vessel but is instead installed in a piece of nonroad equipment subject to the provisions of this part.

    (4) An engine not covered by paragraphs (1) through (3) of this definition that is intended to be installed in new nonroad equipment. This generally includes installation of used engines in new equipment. The engine is no longer new when the ultimate purchaser receives a title for the equipment or the product is placed into service, whichever comes first.

    (5) An imported nonroad engine, subject to the following provisions:

    (i) An imported nonroad engine covered by a certificate of conformity issued under this part that meets the criteria of one or more of paragraphs (1) through (4) of this definition, where the original engine manufacturer holds the certificate, is new as defined by those applicable paragraphs.

    (ii) An imported engine that will be covered by a certificate of conformity issued under this part, where someone other than the original engine manufacturer holds the certificate (such as when the engine is modified after its initial assembly), is a new nonroad engine when it is imported. It is no longer new when the ultimate purchaser receives a title for the engine or it is placed into service, whichever comes first.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  2. suzuki4me

    suzuki4me New Member

    Just did my part and sent e-mails to both the Senators and Congressman representing our district. I hope EVERYONE does the same!:frustration:
  3. OldMachinist

    OldMachinist Moderator Staff Member

    I read some of the EPA document I wonder when they wrote it since several times they refer to the average fuel price being $1.81.
  4. gregw98

    gregw98 Member

    Makes you wonder about these imported Japanese tractors or any farm tractor for that matter. Do all these harvesters and other farm equipment meet EPA standards. Then you have to question powerboats, race cars, as NASCAR, and Indy style cars. Are jet planes being tested. These bunch of yahoos sitting at their desks up in Washington, ripping off the general public and getting rich under the table, trying to squash the little guy really gets me P.O.ed.
  5. Samurai9

    Samurai9 Member

    It would take a legally trained person many hours to figure out these documents. A layman or someone unfamiliar with this area of the law would probably be unable to understand their legal significance. Legal documents cannot be understood without reading all parts, seeing how they relate to each other, and viewing material in the full context of all other relevant legal authority. You cannot just look at a sentence here and there and assume that the words can be understood like everyday language. From scanning the introduction to the cited rule, it is not clear to me that there is anything NEW which applies to kei trucks. Some of the rule seems to apply to boat motors and lawn mowers. I would be cautious in getting upset about this or contacting representatives without full study. Just my opinion.

  6. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    Amen! This Country has been sold out in every possible way!:frustration:
  7. jtpc

    jtpc Member

    Hmm, well, I hope all that isn't true
  8. Mighty Milt

    Mighty Milt Active Member

    l'll let you guys in on a little secret. the emissions testing for off road vehicles is less stringent than for on road vehicles. here in arizona they only do an idle test not a dynomometer test. somehow, i'm not worried as long as you are using them for off road use only ;)
  9. miniman

    miniman Member

    This report is 100% true, i've talked to the EPA and they are doing this to eliminate the importation of mini trucks into the U.S. The entire point of these proposed changes is to kill mini trucks coming into the U.S. When I spoke to one of the individuals listed in this report his words were "We're tired of Japan dumping these trucks here as something that they are not and we're going to put an end to it". Everyone that enjoys minis needs to contact their representatives and let them know the EPA has unilaterally decided to destroy an entire industry for some unknown reason.
  10. Colin

    Colin Member

    It's far from an unknown reason. I think the ATV industry is lobbying pretty hard to keep these things illegal.

    This country is really going down the shitter, and has been for a long time.
  11. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    Yet they'll allow those crappy Chinese 3 wheeled trucks in?:frustration:

    Give us a name, I've been writing hate mail to Congress, Whitehouse, etc, over THIS article,below, so might as well chew on his fanny too!!:cool:

    OOPS! Didn't note the link....I emailed Mr Stout at his epa mail link.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  12. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    yet the majority of ATV's are Japanese, I would think?
  13. boosted mitsu

    boosted mitsu Member

    i think we should all look into this more deeply before we assume all is bad.
    there may be something that is overlooked.

    just my 2 pennies
  14. jtpc

    jtpc Member

    If its true that it will be more difficult to import I wonder how this will affect the states where they are legal as 'on-road' such as Wyoming and Oklahoma.
    I know that it won't affect the Oklahoma-built 'tiger trucks'. It would actually help their business if the japanese trucks weren't imported so much.
  15. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    Kinda' hard to NOT assume it's all bad, after this post:

    >>>>>>>>>This report is 100% true, i've talked to the EPA and they are doing this to eliminate the importation of mini trucks into the U.S. The entire point of these proposed changes is to kill mini trucks coming into the U.S. When I spoke to one of the individuals listed in this report his words were "We're tired of Japan dumping these trucks here as something that they are not and we're going to put an end to it".
  16. miniman

    miniman Member

    There is nothing to over look, it is every bit as ominous as it sounds, I heard it first hand, we need to begin fighting this tooth and nail right now
  17. jtpc

    jtpc Member

    I'm surprised really. It would seem so wrong for them to do that.
  18. miniman

    miniman Member

    Don't be, they want complacency, they want you to think they wouldn't do something that would infringe on rights so badly. the EPA has a god complex in which they think they can do whatever they want, to whomever they want, whenever they want. The EPA is to the U.S. economy as terrorists are to Iraq.
  19. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    Recently I spoke with Alan Stout with the EPA on the phone.(stout.alan@epa.com) My understanding is we will have to have them tested before they are sent here. Each truck will have its own U.S.A. certificate that states it has been tested and passed the U.S.A. EPA specs. If this is the case the sellers and buyers in Japan will make it cost effective. Cant imagine it costing that much. Maybe I am wrong. Mr. Stout was cool when talking to me and told me the final wording would not be out for another 2 weeks. All is not lost. We all need to drop a line or email our state reps. I caution all of us to keep a cool head in communicating with the EPA. I have personly put 5 trucks on a epa machine here in Austin,Tx over the last 1 yr. and a 1/2, just for kicks and only had 1 fail. That truck was a 89 Suz. and blowing blue smoke. The other 4 were early 90 models Suz./Dai. passed with flying colors. "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained"
  20. jtpc

    jtpc Member

    that's good news
  21. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    RE: the info I once posted here somewhere, a guy on my Bandit forum was sent to Japan...he had his Bike shipped over, and it cost $950 to have it tested and certified so he could use it over there.
  22. Dmerc, You're correct, for the testing to happen on each vehicle in Japan before it leaves and then obtain an official EPA certification will be so expensive the EPA will finally get what it wants, and that's mini trucks out of the county. I recently spoke to an individual, (neither of these two) and he said that since states are making them legal and removing the limiters and that the EPA doesn't have the resources to go from state to state telling them what they can and can't do they're going to "turn the water off at the spicket" and put an end to them that way. Very friendly guy who also agreed that it's a bit ridiculous but that's what's happening.
  23. Rural

    Rural Member

    Level heads are required when dealing with these sorts of issues, especially when talking to representatives and bureaucrats. But folks have to keep the pressure on.

    First, the reason mini-trucks are cost effective in North America is because of the Japanese government's policies. I wouldn't call it dumping, but the effect is something like a subsidy. There is something there. (Then again, it's not like the American corn crop isn't free of subsidies.) Just something to keep in mind.

    Not having read the letter of the proposed law, I'm thinking that there is a solution: Have the trucks tested. If the letter of the law is such that each individual truck must be tested, then that's that and the price of every kei truck will go up accordingly (not good), but few will fail testing. But if it's just each make, model, and year of truck that needs to be tested, wouldn't it make sense to form an organization of mini-truck dealers and owners to share the cost of doing that testing while distributing the results of those tests to its members? Heck, an organization isn't really necessary. Individuals could have the tests done and sell the results on EBay.

    In Canada, if such laws came into effect, the Imported Vehicles Owners Association (ivoac.ca) would seem like the right organization to offer this service. Isn't there something similar in the US?
  24. Colin

    Colin Member

    No, not hardly. Polaris and Arctic Cat have a large market share. Japanese manufacturers could be pushing to ban minitrucks as well, though... they're not making any money off used car imports. :sly:

    Every agency of the US governments operates in this manner, especially the EPA and the BATFE. There is nothing worse than a bunch of no-good, non-elected bureaucrats dreaming up pointless laws in order to justify their positions in government. :frustration:

    Can we start the revolution yet?

  25. gbrad

    gbrad Member

    Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's had enough.

    Yeah, this is a great country. Yes I support our troops. I don't want one more young person killed in the name of (whatever). Yes I know it's still better here. Yes I know I'm better off here than in a slum in Bangladesh rolling around in an open sewer. Blah, blah blah.

    But... There is something wrong when all of the elected officials, appointed officials, hired regulators, FBI, CIA, ATF, BMF's and most of the top military brass who all took an oath to support and defend the Constitution completely look the other way as our freedoms are snatched out from under us and the Constitution is suspended by evil men who would change the face of this country for their own greed without giving We the People a voice in these changes.

    Something is wrong and this election, whoever wins it, aint gonna change anything.

    Did I say that out loud?? Oh well, sometimes it just squirts out uncontrolably.

    No problems, this is the mini truck forum.

  26. myazel

    myazel Member

    Saw a sign in Warsaw Indiana that said Mini Trucks for Mitch who is running for Govenor. It also had little camo mini trucks on it. Had to laugh when I saw it.
  27. BIGSTEVE77

    BIGSTEVE77 New Member

    In British Columbia we had a similar problem with the province not accepting the Japanese lights, unless SAE marked. You could have 2 Toyotas with indentical looking tail light assemblies, one would have Japanese only markings that had to be replaced and the other with both, that was passed. The answer was that one of the importers had an engineer study the Japanese standards and reported that they complied with our requirements except for some bulbs were lower powered. Replace some two bit bulbs instead of complete lamp assemblies.

    I can not believe that Japanese on-road polution standards are not more stringent than US off-road, even 15 year old standards versus today's off-road. Why not have someone look into that angle? If i'm correct I would not just talk to my representatives, I would go to the press, politicians in Canada hate bad press about "their goverment". I work for the goverment and we can not get a needed change looked at, but one big article in the press and the politicans are sprinting to fix the issue.
  28. Rural

    Rural Member

    I totally agree with Steve. My work is in designing hydrovacs. We have to meet Canadian safety standards for motor vehicles. Since our trucks are unique to our company, we had to do all the work ourselves. But every imported '91 Subaru Sambar KV4 is going to be the same (ignoring the super-charged version). Figuring out if the truck met the standard, and if not, the fixes, should only have to be done once. (Unless the EPA is forcing individual inspections.)

    As I learn more about the Canadian Motor Vehicle and Safety Standard, I'm thinking that it wouldn't take too much work to get a model of mini-truck passed. This would eliminate the 15-year problem we have up here.


  29. miniman

    miniman Member

    You don't think that once you verified one used 95 suzuki it would apply to all do you? It doesn't work that way, each individual truck would need to be epa certified before it would be allowed entry into the states.
  30. Rural

    Rural Member

    Well, I wasn't sure one way or the other. For used vehicles, I guess this makes sense...from the EPA's perspective.

    But I think that a calm and sober look at what the preliminary law is saying is necessary. At this point, it isn't known what is required in the way of an emissions test. It may be dirt cheap. Frankly, the emissions testing may remove another barrier to getting these little vehicles on the road legally. There may be a silver lining here.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
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