[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 34 (Friday, February 20, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9217-9218]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-03500]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, and 175

[Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0095 (HM-224F)]
RIN 2137-AE44

Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Lithium Batteries

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 

ACTION: Final rule; extension of compliance date.


SUMMARY: PHMSA is extending for modes of transportation other than air 
the mandatory compliance date of a final rule published on August 6, 
2014, under Docket No. HM-224F from February 6, 2015, until August 7, 
2015. This extension is made in response to formal comments received 
from multiple stakeholders outlining challenges faced by the regulated 
community in fully implementing the provisions of the final rule by the 
February 6, 2015 mandatory compliance date.

DATES: The compliance date for the final rule published August 6, 2014, 
at 79 FR 46012, is extended until August 7, 2015.

Standards and Rulemaking Division, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials 
Safety Administration, telephone (202) 366-8553.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 6, 2014 [79 FR 46012], PHMSA in 
consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a 
final rule under Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0095 (HM-224F) modifying 
requirements governing the transportation of lithium cells and 
batteries. The final rule revised hazard communication and packaging 
provisions for lithium batteries to harmonize the Hazardous Materials 
Regulations (HMR; CFR parts 171-180) with applicable provisions of the 
United Nations (UN) Model Regulations, the International Civil Aviation 
Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of 
Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions) and the 
International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. In the August 6, 
2014 final rule, PHMSA authorized a mandatory compliance date of 
February 6, 2015 (six months after publication in the Federal Register) 
for shippers to incorporate the new requirements into standard 
operating procedures and complete training of affected personnel.
    The Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Food Marketing 
Institute, the National Retail Federation, and the Rechargeable Battery 
Association submitted a joint request for an extension of six months to 
the current mandatory compliance date. These groups contend that the 
six month transitional period adopted in the final rule did not provide 
sufficient time to comply with the new requirements and has proven 
extremely challenging for the retail industry to implement in 
particular for surface transportation. The request notes that 
``generally, the new regulations require that domestic ground shipments 
of products with lithium batteries adhere to shipping standards 
previously only required for international air and sea 
transportation''. The groups further note that the detailed information 
necessary for compliance, such as the specific

[[Page 9218]]

number of lithium cells or batteries contained in a package and whether 
a package contains lithium ion or lithium metal cells or batteries, as 
required by Sec.  173.185(c)(3), does not currently exist in any format 
that the retail sector can access and utilize. In addition the 
requestors state that tens of thousands of consumer products may be 
impacted by the rule, and estimate that to date, the necessary 
information has been obtained from retail suppliers for less than 25% 
of the affected products. Furthermore, they relate that since August 
2014, retail businesses and their suppliers have been working 
diligently to develop information technology (IT) systems and business 
processes to identify consumer products impacted by the regulation. 
Systematic solutions are being developed but will take additional time 
to implement. They estimate that a minimum of six additional months is 
necessary to identify all affected products and build the IT 
infrastructure necessary to effectively implement the regulations. 
Finally, the commenters point out that the new provisions require the 
developing, tracking, and implementing of training programs for 
hundreds of thousands of employees to enable them to execute the 
nuanced marking and labeling requirements of the final rule.
    PHMSA appreciates the additional information submitted and has 
reviewed the information in conjunction with the information considered 
during the rulemaking process. Based on this review, PHMSA believes the 
additional arguments and justification provided by the commenters have 
merit and that an extension of the mandatory compliance date for modes 
of transportation other than aircraft is warranted. PHMSA recognizes 
that the primary focus of the HM-224F final rulemaking as outlined in 
published notices preceding the final rule was to align the 
requirements of the HMR for air transportation of lithium batteries 
with those of the ICAO Technical Instructions. PHMSA believes that 
maintaining the February 6, 2015 compliance date for air transport is 
appropriate and important for aviation safety and is therefore 
maintaining the February 6, 2015 effective date for offering, 
acceptance, and transportation by aircraft. Therefore, in consultation 
with the FAA and consistent with the information set forth in the joint 
request, this extension does not apply to transportation by aircraft. 
In the event an air carrier becomes aware of a non-compliant shipment 
offered to it, the air carrier should report the incident to the FAA in 
addition to taking specific actions required by the regulations as to 
that shipment. For questions regarding reporting of such incidents, 
carriers may contact the nearest FAA Regional or Field Security Office 
by telephone or electronically.
    In summary, in response to commenters' requests PHMSA is extending 
the mandatory compliance date for the final rule published under Docket 
No. HM-224F on August 6, 2014, until August 7, 2015 for all modes other 
than transportation by aircraft to allow additional time to implement 
the requirements of the rule. The mandatory compliance date of February 
6, 2015 remains in effect with respect to offering, acceptance and 
transportation by aircraft.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2015 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.97.
Timothy P. Butters,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-03500 Filed 2-19-15; 8:45 am]