Manufacturers Issue Key Vote on Lithium Battery Shipments

The National Association of Manufacturers today sent the U.S. House a “Key Vote” letter (text) on an issue of major competitive importance to the auto industry, medical device manufacturers, and other high-tech sectors of the economy. The letter urges Representatives to oppose Amendment 18, offered by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), to H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011. The House is currently debating the bill and the 30 (!) amendments approved for consideration.

The NAM supports language in Chairman John Mica’s (R-FL) Manager’s Amendment that would allow the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bring U.S. regulations governing the air shipment of lithium batteries up to current international standards.

Conversely, the Filner amendment calls for an immediate halt to all air shipments of primary lithium batteries until new regulations can be promulgated by the FAA and others at the Department of Transportation (DOT). In the meantime, regulatory delays and outright bans on air shipments would cause massive supply chain disruptions and postpone the delivery of life-saving medical devices and critical defense communications equipment. Moreover, failure to harmonize DOT rules with international rules will ultimately cost U.S. jobs, create regulatory confusion and put us out of step with our global competitors.

Manufacturers support transportation safety and carefully follow safety protocols when shipping lithium batteries and products containing such batteries. The Filner amendment is unnecessary, excessively costly and damaging to our global competitiveness.

NAM Key Votes are identified by a committee made of representative manufacturers and are used to determine a member of Congress’ legislative support for manufacturing.

Earlier Shopfloor post on lithium battery regulations.

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