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DOT/PHMSA RIN: 2137-AF20 Publication ID: Fall 2018 
Title: +Hazardous Materials: Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries Transported by Aircraft 
Abstract:

This rulemaking action would amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 to 180) applicable to the transport of lithium cells and batteries by aircraft. The rulemaking contains three amendments: (1) a prohibition on the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft; (2) a requirement that lithium ion cells and batteries be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft; and (3) a limitation on the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cell or battery shipments to one package per consignment or overpack. These amendments are consistent with three emergency amendments to the 2015–2016 International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions). The amendments in this rulemaking do not restrict passengers or crew members from bringing personal items or electronic devices containing lithium batteries aboard aircraft in carry-on or checked baggage, or restrict cargo-only aircraft from transporting lithium ion batteries at a state of charge exceeding 30 percent when packed with or contained in equipment. PHMSA is providing limited relief from the passenger aircraft prohibition and the state of charge restriction for small lithium ion batteries transported entirely within Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories.

 
Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 172    49 CFR 173   
Legal Authority: 49 U.S.C. 44701    49 U.S.C. 5103(b)    49 U.S.C. 5120(b)   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This rule is necessary to address an immediate safety hazard and harmonize the US HMR with emergency amendments to the 2015-2016 edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions). FAA research has shown that air transportation of lithium ion batteries poses a safety risk. We are issuing this rulemaking to (1) prohibit the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft; (2) require all lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge on cargo-only aircraft; and (3) limit the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cell or battery shipments under 49 CFR 173.185(c).

Summary of the Legal Basis:

This rule is published under the authority of the Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Law, 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq. Section 5103(b) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe regulations for the safe transportation, including security, of hazardous material in intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce. This rule revises regulations for the safe transport of lithium batteries by air and the protection of aircraft operators and the flying public.

Alternatives:

In this rulemaking, PHMSA considered the following three alternatives: (1) PHMSA adopts all of the amendments presented in the rule; (2) a No Action alternative; and (3) a Partial Harmonization alternative.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

PHMSA estimates the present value costs about $46.6 million over 10 years and about $6.6 million annualized at a 7 percent discount rate and $56.3 million over 10 years and about $6.6 million annualized at a 3 percent discount rate. Based on the estimated mean 10-year undiscounted cost of $65.84 million and the estimated economic consequences of $34.9 million for a cargo-only flight incident, the rulemaking would need to prevent 1.9 incidents over the next 10 years for the benefits to exceed the quantified costs, or approximately one every 5 years.

Risks:

PHMSA expects the rule will improve safety for flight crews, air cargo operators, and the public as a result of the state of charge requirement and the consignment and overpack restriction by reducing the possibility of fire on cargo-only aircraft. Additionally, the rule will harmonize the prohibition of lithium ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft and eliminate the possibility of a package of lithium ion batteries causing or contributing to a fire in the cargo hold of a passenger aircraft.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  10/00/2018 
Additional Information: HM-224I
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: www.regulations.gov   Public Comment URL: www.regulations.gov  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Kevin Leary
Transportation Specialist
Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202-366-8553
Email: kevin.leary@dot.gov