1981 Scorecard Vote
Kasten (R-WI) amendment to the Noise Control Authorization bill to keep federal authority to preempt state noise control standards for new motorcycles. Federal law prevents states from setting noise standards where comparable federal standards exist. The Kasten amendment would have prevented states from setting standards for the manufacture and sale of motorcycles, even though there will be no such federal standards until 1983, and all federal funding to enforce the standards has been eliminated. The Harley Davidson Company whose advertising slogan is "Make Your Own Thunder" pushed this amendment largely to avoid compliance with California noise standards, which are stricter than the federal standards would be. Motorcycles are one of the greatest sources of noise pollution in America, and evidence is growing that excessive noise is not only a nuisance, but a danger to physical and environmental well-being.
Environmentalists have traditionally supported the rights of states to set stricter environmental protections than those of the federal government. They feared that this amendment might set a bad precedent for federal preemption of state law not only for noise, but for other pollutants. This problem is especially serious at a time when the federal EPA is no longer willing or able to cope with its pollution control responsibilities. Rejected 40-55; July 14, 1981. NO is the pro-environment vote.