NEMA welcomes House legislation on lithium battery standards.

Press Release Summary:

House of Representatives has approved HR 658, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization and Reform Act. It includes NEMA-backed provision directing U.S. DOT to ensure its regulations governing air transport of Li-Ion or lithium metal batteries, and products with them, are not more stringent than international requirements in place at any time. One exception allowed is to continue U.S. prohibition of air shipment of lithium metal cells and batteries on passenger aircraft.

Original Press Release:

NEMA Welcomes House Approval of Legislation to Harmonize Lithium Battery Transportation Safety Standards

ROSSLYN, Va. - NEMA welcomed the approval today by the U.S. House of Representatives of HR 658, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization and Reform Act, which includes a NEMA-backed provision directing the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), of which FAA is a part, to ensure that its regulations governing the air transport of lithium ion or lithium metal batteries and products that contain or are packed with these batteries are no more stringent than international requirements in place at any time.

The House approved HR 658 by a vote of 223-196 and will have to reconcile it with a Senate-passed bill that does not include any provisions pertaining to lithium batteries. The battery provision, offered by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL), was approved by a bipartisan vote of 251-168.

"U.S. regulations on the safe transport of lithium batteries need to be brought up to date commensurate with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards already in place around the world," NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis said. "We look forward to working with the House and Senate to make sure this requirement is included in any final conference agreement on the FAA legislation."

NEMA represents the leading U.S. manufacturers of lithium metal batteries as well as many electroindustry companies that use lithium ion and lithium metal batteries in their products and equipment.

Specifically, Chairman Mica's harmonization amendment directs DOT to not issue or enforce any regulations regarding the air transportation of lithium metal cells or batteries, or lithium ion cells or batteries, or products that use them, that are more stringent than requirements pertaining to lithium batteries in the 2011-2012 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air or any future amendments to those instructions. The one exception allowed is the maintenance of the U.S. prohibition since 2004 of air shipment of lithium metal cells and batteries on passenger aircraft.

NEMA is the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end use of electricity. These products are used in utility, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. The association's Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) Division represents manufacturers of cutting-edge medical diagnostic imaging equipment including MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound products. Worldwide sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing and Mexico City.

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