July 20th, 2018 – RIDING FREE FROM DC

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists.

Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.

All of my favorite things!

On Thursday, deep in the underbelly of the U.S. Capitol, lawmakers and their staff gathered to hear as riders and boaters shared their concerns over ethanol.

Lured in by the promise of free breakfast sandwiches, staffers stayed to hear from a panel made up of industry representatives. These included Kawasaki, Stratton & Briggs (they make lawnmowers), a representative from Boat U.S. (the AAA for boaters) and yep, you guessed it – The Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

Local MRF member Mike Sponseller, a professional racer and personal friend of our own Tiffany Cipoletti, he explained to the crowd why higher ethanol blended gasoline is such a concern for riders.

To illustrate his point, we flashed images of corroded and damaged motorcycle engine parts including fuel injectors, tank liners, fuel lines and even showed a snapshot taken directly from a Harley-Davidson owner’s manual explaining the risks of using E15, E30 and E85.

Your MRF has been working with our allies in the broader marine and motorcycle industry for months now to put together this solid performance to hit our point home. The Motorcycle and Boat Caucuses helped to put on the event in an effort to spur support for H.R.5855, the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018.

This bill would require the EPA to revise the labeling requirements for fuel pumps that dispense E15 and conduct a consumer education campaign to inform the public about the risks of improper use of E15 and the vehicles and equipment that are prohibited from using E15…like MOTORCYCLES!

Now that we have some momentum, we’ll need to hammer our lawmakers to support the bill AND we’ll need to shop for a Senate leader to take up the fight in that chamber. I’ve already gotten some interest from Sen. Baldwin (Wisc.) and possibly Sen. Inhofe (Oklahoma). I’ll keep you posted on this.

Itching to do something now? You can! Send a pre-written message to your lawmaker asking for their support. We took the hard work out of it for you. Just click on the below link and join the 924 people that have already taken action…

Enjoy your weekend and most importantly – Take Action on H.R.5855

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Pruitt Out, Wheeler In
Just weeks ago, the head honcho of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt announced his resignation from the agency. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about why Pruitt resigned.

There are several ongoing investigations concerning his conduct in office. But for riders’ purposes, your MRF was keenly aware of the fact that Pruitt had huge support from the oil and gas industry and because of this, had taken actions to slow the ethanol train down in the country despite President’s Trump support of the corn industry.

While its possible we may continue to see some of these efforts through Pruitt’s predecessor, it isn’t as clear what that might look like.  Andrew Wheeler is a former coal and uranium lobbyist who is likely to carry out a similar agenda as Pruitt with a focus on overturning burdensome regulations.

He is also a former staffer of climate science denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and has previous experience working at the EPA under former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The ethanol industry took no time getting acquainted with the new leader – this week the entire Iowa delegation met with Wheeler and directly asked him to uphold President Trump’s commitment.

They may have a sympathetic ear; last year in a public hearing Wheeler was quoted as saying, “The RFS is the law of the land. I fully support the program.” (p.s. when someone says “RFS” they mean ethanol).

The conversation carried over at a public hearing this week; the EPA proposed the ethanol volumes for 2019….what was in their proposal? A mandate that 19.88 billion gallons of ethanol and biofuels be blended into our fuel supply next year.

That’s an increase, folks. Not lookin’ so good. At the hearing in Michigan ethanol and oil supporters duked it out over the proposed increase.

Don’t hit your panic button quite yet though – this is just a proposal and won’t be formalized until November this year. But, like I said: no looky so goody. It means we’ll just have to double down on our pressure to Congress.

NEWS FROM THE STATES – South Dakota ABATE
Our dear friends from South Dakota ABATE asked me to make sure you had an invite to an event they are hosting during Sturgis.

The Whitewood Social Hour is a chance to get away from the crowds for an afternoon, enjoy free soda and beer and network with your fellow riders from all over the country.

The event takes place Thursday, August 9th from 12pm-5pm at the Whitewood City Park. Its 7 miles west of Sturgis on I-90. Take exit 23 and follow the signs, the road dead-ends at the park.

You’ll see a few MRF-ers there like our Tiffany Cipoletti. Don’t forget to bring your MRF membership card – it’s FREE to get in if you can show it. Others/Friends cost $10.

Let me know if you want the flyer…

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – We Need More People Like YOU!
As we rapidly approach Sturgis, the MRF is set to roll out a new marketing campaign designed to sign more folks up to be MRF members.

As you know, our own Kirk “Hardtail” Willard will be inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame on August 8. We’ll use this as an opportunity to spread the word about the MRF.

We’ve long been referred to as “the best-kept secret in Washington” but guess what?

That adage doesn’t always result in awareness of our organization. And the lack of awareness means a lack of members.

And a lack of members means a lack of $$$ and a lack of money means…well….I think you know where I am headed.

So, we’ll highlight Hardtail’s award, issue fancy new brochures and marketing materials, push our message through our partners that have offered to help, run some Facebook advertisements to target Sturgis attendees and hope that the “best-kept secret” morphs into the visible powerhouse that it is for riders across the nation.

You have a part in this too – if you have friends or family who ride, send them our way.

For new folks, we’ll even take a little of the top…reach to me for a $5 off discount code that can be used for new members who sign up during the month of August.

RIDE FREE-

Megan Ekstrom
Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation