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EPA Affirms Farmers’ Right To Repair

In a letter to National Farmers Union, the Environmental Protection Agency has affirmed that the Clean Air Act cannot be used as a basis to restrict independent repair of farm equipment.

In their opposition to Right to Repair legislation, equipment manufacturers and dealers have invoked EPA regulations and the CAA — specifically related to tampering with emissions control systems – as justification for their need to restrict repair.

“EPA confirmed what farmers have known all along – equipment manufacturers have been using bad faith justifications to restrict independent repair,” NFU president Rob Larew said. “I want to thank Administrator Regan and EPA for taking this issue seriously and providing clarity to NFU and farmers across the nation.”

In the letter to NFU, Regan stated “Your letter… discusses the important anti- tampering provisions of the Act, and your concern that certain manufacturers may be mischaracterizing the implications of those provisions for independent repair… The Act, implementing regulations, and EPA’s policy and practice are aligned in preventing tampering not by limiting access to independent repair, but rather by enforcing the prohibition against tampering against any party that does so.”

MFU joins NFU in supporting legislation that guarantees farmers and independent mechanics’ right to repair farm equipment on fair and reasonable terms and costs.

In addition to signing onto the writ of mandamus to the EPA and filing a Federal Trade Commission complaint regarding right to repair, MFU also has worked at the state level to help introduce and advocate for right to repair legislation in Montana. MFU has worked with other state Farmers Unions in Colorado, Nebraska, Michigan and Missouri. Colorado passed and signed into law the right to repair that will go in affect Jan. 1, 2024.

”I am pleased that the EPA agrees with Farmers Union on our ‘Right to Repair’. Last winter Farmers Union sent a letter asking the EPA to force equipment manufacturers to provide us the tools necessary to maintain the emissions on our equipment. EPA recently sent us a letter affirming our assertions and acknowledging that the equipment manufactures need to supply us the tools to maintain our emissions. This is a big win for farmers and the step in the right direction. This makes me hopeful that the FTC will follow suit and draft the rules requiring equipment manufacturers to give us the Right to Repair our equipment,” MFU President Walter Schweitzer said.

EPA Administrator Regan added, “Like NFU and its members, EPA believes barriers to the proper repair and maintenance of nonroad equipment is harmful to the environment… We support efforts by anyone to enact legislation clarifying that independent repair is allowable, provided such efforts continue to clearly prohibit illegal tampering of emissions control systems.”

Larew added, “The Right to Repair has been a pillar of NFU’s Fairness for Farmers campaign to address the monopoly crisis in agriculture and to promote fair and competitive markets. Farmers and ranchers deserve the Right to Repair their own equipment.”

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