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PRBA Urges PHMSA to Align U.S. Air Transport Rules for Lithium Batteries with Stricter International Standards.

Dual Compliance Option "Inconsistent" with 2012 FAA Law

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PRBA-The Rechargeable Battery A rechargeable battery, also known as a storage battery, is a group of two or more secondary cells. These batteries can be restored to full charge by the application of electrical energy.  Association has filed comments with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Agency Overview
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) was created under the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act (P.L. 108-426) of 2004. President Bush signed the legislation into law on November 30, 2004.
 reiterating that it "fully supports" a proposal that would harmonize U.S. rules for air shipment of lithium batteries with the more stringent international standards.

But PRBA PRBA Portable Rechargeable Battery Association
PRBA Puerto Rican Bar Association
PRBA Program for Research on Black Americans (University of Michigan Institute for Social Research)
PRBA Pennine Region Balloon Association
 questioned PHMSA's plan to permit a dual system of regulation for the transport of lithium batteries, which would give carriers and shippers the option of complying with either existing PHMSA PHMSA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration  regulations or the International Civil Aviation Organization International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), specialized agency of the United Nations, organized in 1947, with headquarters at Montreal. The objective of the ICAO, which has 187 member nations, is to encourage the orderly growth of international civil aviation,  Technical Instructions for domestic-only shipments.

"Dual standards create a cloud of confusion for everyone in the battery industry. Confusion limits compliance. And lack of compliance jeopardizes safety," PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner said. "PRBA members favor a simplified yet rigorous regulatory regime that will advance air safety," he added.

PRBA also submitted comments as part of a 23-member trade association coalition that includes manufacturers of batteries, consumer electronics and medical devices as well as air freight companies and retailers. PRBA and the coalition were responding to PHMSA's Jan. 7, 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking A notice of proposed rulemaking or NPRM is issued by law when a regulatory agency of the United States Federal Government wishes to add, remove, or change a rule (or regulation) as part of the rulemaking process.

Outside the USA.
. PHMSA requested comments addressing the "unintended consequences" of letting shippers choose their method of compliance for domestic battery shipments instead of issuing a final rule harmonizing the U.S. regulations with the tougher international requirements.

PRBA's filing called for a single standard as the best approach, noting that PHMSA's plan to allow a choice of compliance efforts "would not be consistent with the intent" of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Not only was harmonization mandated by Congress, PRBA said, "but it also will enhance safety by simplifying training for employers, make it easier for haz mat employees to understand how to package and ship lithium batteries and minimize costs and other burdens associated with complying with inconsistent regulations."

PRBA also listed several "unintended consequences" if PHMSA allows shippers and carriers to operate under the weaker U.S. regulatory system. First, pilots may not be notified of large shipments of small, excepted lithium batteries on their aircraft and carriers may not be able to implement workable acceptance checklists. Concerns about the pilot notification and carrier implementation of the checklist provisions motivated ICAO ICAO
International Civil Aeronautics Organization

Noun 1. ICAO - the United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation
International Civil Aviation Organization
 to adopt the more stringent lithium battery regulations in February 2012, PRBA's filing said.

Second, the ICAO Technical Instructions require employee training regardless of battery size, but the U.S. rules do not. Third, PHMSA may find it difficult to bring enforcement cases against shippers complying with U.S regulations but not the ICAO standards. "This situation may prevent PHMSA (and FAA) from taking aggressive enforcement actions against non-compliant shippers of lithium batteries," PRBA said.

About PRBA The members of PRBA 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. 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

SOURCE PRBA - The Rechargeable Battery Association
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 18, 2013
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