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EPA illegal coal rolling: Smoke-blowing coal rollers are illegal, says EPA

The EPA has a message for all those “coal rolling” hooligans who intentionally rig up their vehicles to fart out giant plumes of black smoke: Your black puff blowing ways are over. The Environmental Protection Agency, in recent commentary, said the hazardous practice of coal rolling – modifying a diesel engine to emit a large plume of black smoke and soot – is illegal.

Per EPA press secretary Liz Purchia: “The short answer is this is illegal.”

The long answer can be found buried in verbiage on the air enforcement page of the EPA's website; the first paragraph below is found under the EPA subheading of “Defeat Devices,” the second is under a subheading of “Tampering”:

It is a violation of the [Clean Air Act] to manufacture, sell, or install a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device. For example, computer software that alters diesel fuel injection timing is a defeat device. Defeat devices, which are often sold to enhance engine performance, work by disabling a vehicle's emission controls, causing air pollution. As a result of EPA enforcement, some of the largest manufacturers of defeat devices have agreed to pay penalties and stop the sale of defeat devices.

The CAA prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer. A vehicle's emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines. EPA works with manufacturers to ensure that they design their components with tamper-proofing, addresses trade groups to educate mechanics about the importance of maintaining the emission control systems, and prosecutes cases where significant or imminent harm is occurring.

Coal rolling is a form of protest, a lashback of sorts against environmentalists advocating lower emissions from vehicles. In its distilled form, the practice is seen as pitting Prius drivers against pick-up truck tough guys. Some spend the $500 to $5,000 to rig their vehicles and see it as a political statement, others just do it for kicks.

According to NewsMax, “coal rollers can channel the soot through smoke stacks and onto people nearby. An article by Vocativ last month drew attention to the trend.”

“The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” Ryan, a high school student who works at a diesel garage told Vocativ in an article entitled Rollin’ Coal Is Pollution Porn for Dudes with Pickup Trucks. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”

A particularly provocative piece was written by Wonkette.com, and said the practice of “Manly Men who modify the fuel systems of their big diesel trucks to deliberately dump excess fuel into their engines, creating thick black smoke and proclaiming their freedom from clean air and other despicable liberal plots” is “especially hilarious when they blow smoke on a Prius driver or a bicyclist, ideally one with asthma.”

Per Wonkette:

You get the sense that if they could find an emphysema patient on oxygen to roll coal on, they might just ejaculate in their pants. It’s technological assholery as political statement, the closest these motorheads can get to actually taking a [expletive] on the environmentalists (and the “environment,” which isn’t even a real thing) they hate so much. Oh, and incidentally, the Environmental Protection Agency clarified Monday that rollin’ coal is unquestionably illegal. But what would you expect from a bunch of wimpy poindexters who think the environment needs protecting?

On a related note, we see that PickupTrucks.com posted an editorial calling on truck owners to stop this coal-rolling nonsense, because it “gives other media outlets another opportunity to paint a stereotypical picture of pickup truck owners and enthusiasts.”

Not surprisingly, the coal-rollers quickly took to the comments and declared anyone opposed to the practice a liberal idiot, and of course suggested that the author of the article was some kind of traitor to the pickup-truck-loving community.