Rep. Coble: Lithium Battery Regs Could Cost Manufacturing Jobs

Thanks to Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) for highlighting one of the lesser-known examples of regulatory overreach to come from the Obama Administration, the proposed rules governing air shipment of lithium-ion batteries. Rep. Coble cited the regulations during the Feb. 10 floor debate on H.Res.72, requiring House committees to review federal regulations.

Rep. Coble was discussing the rules proposed in January 2010 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Aviation Administration, “Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries.” The docket is PHMSA-2009-0095. here.

The National Association of Manufacturers has been active in the debate over battery shipments, and NAM President Jay Timmons cited the proposed rules during his testimony last week before the House Oversight Committee. In March, 2010, the NAM submitted the association’s comments to the agencies.

Rep. Coble said in his floor statement:

We have all heard the expression, Keep It Simple, Stupid, the KISS formula. Our government needs to do a better job of adhering to this phrase.

In the transportation sector, there are numerous examples where the regulatory process is burdensome and impedes private enterprise.

The Department of Transportation has regulations pending that classify lithium cells and batteries as hazardous materials. If implemented, this could create an impediment in getting batteries to consumers, the military, and government agencies. As a result, this could jeopardize manufacturing jobs in my district, jobs we cannot afford to lose.

Rep. Coble also highlighted the negative economic effects of the DOT’s hours of service regulation and the new rules from the National Mediation Board that permit labor unions to organize a worksite with less than a majority of employees agreeing to representation. He concluded:

We support reducing the number of regulations, Mr. Speaker. But that is not to say that we support compromising safety. Indeed, we do not.

Mr. Speaker, we can do better. We can provide oversight that is simple and straightforward without impeding private enterprise. Our economy will benefit if we bear in mind the saying, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Good message.

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