The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a law that would bar the Obama administration from limiting shipments of lithium-ion batteries by air.
The proposed rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the FAA would have eliminated exceptions for small lithium batteries, classifying them as "Class 9" hazardous cargo, and requiring a number of labeling and other safety regulations.
The House will have to reconcile its legislation with the Senate before President Obama can sign a unified joint bill, as Bloomberg noted.
There have been numerous incidents of batteries short-circuiting, and many of those have involved airplanes. (The last major battery incident involved Sony, in 2008; that recall then, however, did not cover airplanes.) The proposed rule noted that out of 21 and 44 incidents involving lithium batteries since 1991 involved passenger aircraft; of those, 16 involved carry-on luggage, and one involved checked baggage. Twenty-three incidents involved cargo aircraft, presumably in pallets of batteries being transported by air.
Put your converters back into their cardboard boxes for a while. The House okayed the bill by 264 to 158 to set the date for the digital changeover to June 12. The Senate had previously approved the measure. Undoubtedly, President Obama will sign it as well. However, there is still no funding for more converter coupons but that may yet come under part of the new stimulus legislation.
Read More | MSNBC
The House today voted down the bill to switch the digital delay from Feb.17 to June 12 by its failure to get 2/3 of the vote. The bill, backed by President Obama, had already passed in the Senate. Many Republicans believe that passing the bill and boosting the coupon program would create more confusion. Nielsen reports that about 6.5 million households are still not ready for the changeover. Stay tuned to see either the bill gets reworked for another vote or if President Obama saves the day.
Read More | Reuters
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