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PRBA Applauds Enactment of Bipartisan FAA Reauthorization Bill

New Law Enhances Safe Air Shipment of Lithium Batteries

Washington (October 15, 2018)PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association thanks Congress for bipartisan passage of a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and President Trump for signing the legislation into law.

“Most important, the FAA reauthorization will advance the safe air transport of lithium batteries and the array of products powered by those batteries, including consumer electronics and life-saving medical devices,” said George Kerchner, PRBA’s executive director.

PRBA advocated for several provisions included in the FAA reauthorization. The new statute: supports mandates that U.S. air transportation regulations for lithium batteries meet stringent international safety standards. The new law also:

  • Extends requirement that U.S. lithium battery air transport regulations to meet but not exceed stringent international safety standards
  • Requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to support industry participation in ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) activities.
  • Establishes a Lithium Battery Safety Working Group to encourage and coordinate efforts to promote the safe manufacturing, use and transportation of lithium cells and batteries. Its Members will include the Department of Transportation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Food and Drug Administration, plus eight battery experts.
  • Creates a Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee to facilitate government-industry dialogue on ways to improve the safe transport of small and large lithium batteries and cells
  • Requires DOT within six months to provide Congress with ways to improve the packaging of lithium cells and batteries shipped via air.
  • Requires federal regulators to cooperate to ensure the compliance of shippers of lithium batteries with safety regulations.
  • Allows the Secretary of Transportation to provide regulatory relief for life-saving medical device batteries used in products like defibrillators when shipped by air.

“PRBA enthusiastically endorsed the FAA Reauthorization and actively supported air safety provisions Congress included in the final legislation,” Kerchner said.