WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PRBA–The Rechargeable Battery Association, with other trade groups, manufacturers and transportation companies, has urged the Office of Management and Budget to "act promptly" and finish its review of U.S. Department of Transportation regulations that would advance safety goals by harmonizing U.S. requirements for the air transport of lithium batteries with tougher international rules.
In a January 10 letter to the director of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), 24 coalition members noted that DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) safety regulation was initiated four years ago, in January 2010. PHMSA's proposal proved controversial and was followed by new and improved regulatory efforts in April 2012 and January 2013. "It is now time for this proceeding to be completed," the letter stated.
PHMSA's final rule is expected to harmonize U.S. hazardous materials regulations addressing the air transport of lithium batteries with the 2013-2014 rules established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the letter said. "We strongly believe that this would enhance safety by avoiding the burdens of complying with multiple and inconsistent safety requirements," the letter added.
As a result, the PHMSA regulation is "both sound policy" and meets the requirements of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, including PHMSA's continued prohibition on the transport of lithium metal batteries on passenger aircraft, the letter emphasized.
"We see no reason why OIRA should delay its promulgation and publication in the Federal Register," the letter added, if PHMSA's final rule harmonizes U.S. regulations with international air transport regulation and the agency, as expected, adopts several changes advocated by the industry coalition.
PRBA members power the consumer electronics revolution. We deliver a safe, efficient, and essential power source for portable electronic equipment such as notebook computers, cell phones, power tools, PDAs, and MP3 players, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles and containerized lithium ion battery stationary systems. PRBA members produce approximately 70 percent of the world's lithium ion cells and account for billions of dollars in annual worldwide sales. With more than 70 members, PRBA is widely recognized as the nation's authoritative source for information on rechargeable batteries. Visit PRBA online at www.PRBA.org.
SOURCE PRBA - The Rechargeable Battery Association
The proposed changes will ensure that lithium batteries are designed to withstand normal transportation conditions and packaged to reduce damage.
Since 1991, more than 40 air transport-related incidents involving lithium batteries and devices powered by lithium batteries have been identified.
Much of the electronic equipment in use today requires some type of self-contained reserve power
While the DOT has no immediate plans to ban the batteries from carry-on luggage, the risks of batteries in airplane cabins are being studied.