Commissioner Nancy Nord of the Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted down a petition from the ATV and motorcycle industry to be granted an exemption from the lead standards of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Since the exemptions must be approved with two votes, no matter what the other commissioner, Thomas Moore, does the petition is therefore rejected.
In a statement, Nord writes:
In considering exclusions, consumer safety must direct the outcome of our deliberations. Therefore, it is with extreme reluctance that I am voting today to deny the petition, filed by companies and associations representing the ATV and motorized bike industries, for an exclusion from the lead content limits found in Section 101 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act (CPSIA). I do this because the clear language of the law requires this result, not because it advances consumer safety. To the contrary, application of the lead content mandates of the CPSIA to the products made by the petitioners may have the perverse effect of actually endangering children by forcing youth-sized vehicles off the market and resulting
in children riding the far more dangerous adult-sized ATV’s.
However, as acting chairman of the CPSC, she has directed staff to stay enforcement for a year. The intention is laudable, to provide relief from an unreasonable and extremely expensive and disruptive law that could in fact endanger children if enforced.
But if you’re a off-road motorcyle manufacturer or retailer, do you take the risk that non-enforcement means no legal liability? Remember, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act allows state attorneys general to enforce the law. Nord’s statement says, “I hope that the state attorneys general will follow the
lead of the agency on this matter.” Not quite an iron-clad assurance. And if you sell a minibike and there happens to be an accident?
On Nord’s conclusion, we heartily agree: “All stakeholders-industry, users, Congress, and the Commission-need to come together to fix the statutory problems that have become so apparent, in a common sense approach that does not unnecessarily burden those regulated, yet provides safety for American families.”
UPDATE: The stay provides no comfort to the ATV and motorcycle industry, which issued a statement in response to Nord:
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Coalition for Safe and Responsible ATV Use, the Motorcycle Industry Council, Inc. and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America is disappointed that Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairman Nancy Nord announced today that she intended to vote against the petition that our industry submitted for an exclusion for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) motorcycles and snowmobiles from the lead content limits found in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). We believe that the petition submitted to the agency was based on sound science and showed that there is no measurable risk to children resulting from lead exposure from these products.
Regarding a proposed stay of enforcement, we need to review the actual text of such a stay before we can comment. In addition, it is important to note that CPSC Commissioner Thomas Moore has not yet commented on the petition, nor do we know the position of the state attorneys general on this matter.
The conflict between Nord and Commissioner Nord continues. As AP reports:
In a statement, Moore said it takes the vote of both commissioners to stay enforcement of a congressionally mandated ban.
“I have not, as yet, finalized my decision,” said Moore. “It is premature for the press, or anyone else, to take the unprecedented release by one commissioner of their vote and statement prior to the due date of a vote, to assume that this will be the final agency action.”
Moore also chided Nord for disclosing how she will vote on the ATV issue before the voting period ends next week.
Can we please just fix the law?
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