Notice of Lithium Battery Safety Public Meeting and Request for Information, 52368-52371 [2015-21416]

Download as PDF Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 52368 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 167 / Friday, August 28, 2015 / Notices average daily traffic (ADT) and average daily truck traffic (ADTT); average daily total train delay (minutes); average daily total (all vehicles) vehicle delay at crossings; transit service level; facility service level; average hourly (or peak & off-peak) vehicle travel time; average hourly (or peak & off-peak) buffer index; annual crash rates by type/severity; average slow order miles and average daily delay minutes due to slow orders; bridge condition (Sufficiency Rating); road closure/lost capacity time (lanehours). Project Outcomes.—Detailing Project successes and/or the influence of external factors on Project expectations, including an ex post examination of project effectiveness in relation to the Pre-project Report baselines. Background: On February 17, 2009, the President of the United States signed the Recovery Act to, among other purposes, (1) preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery, (2) invest in transportation infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits, and (3) assist those most affected by the current economic downturn. The Recovery Act appropriated $1.5 billion of discretionary grant funds to be awarded by the Department of Transportation for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure. The Department refers to these grants as ‘‘Grants for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery’’ or ‘‘TIGER’’ Discretionary Grants. Funding for 51 projects totaling nearly $1.5 billion under the TIGER program was announced on February 17, 2010. Projects were selected based on their alignment with the selection criteria specified in the Federal Register notice for the TIGER Discretionary Grant program. On December 16, 2009 the President signed the FY 2010 Appropriations Act. The FY 2010 Appropriations Act appropriated $600 million for National Infrastructure Investments using language that is very similar, but not identical to the language in the Recovery Act authorizing the TIGER Discretionary Grants. The Department is referring to the grants for National Infrastructure Investments as TIGER Discretionary Grants. TIGER Discretionary Grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Funding for 72 projects totaling nearly $600 million under the TIGER program was announced on September 12, 2014. Projects were selected based on their alignment with the selection criteria VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:19 Aug 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 specified in the Federal Register notice for the TIGER Discretionary Grant program. As announced in the Federal Register notices for TIGER Discretionary Grant programs, grantees are expected to provide information to the Government so that the Government may monitor the financial conditions and progress of projects, as well as the effectiveness of projects using performance measurement metrics negotiated between the grantees and the Government. This request reinstates a previously approved information collection that is necessary to receive applications for grant funds, to evaluate the effectiveness of projects that have been awarded grant funds and to monitor project financial conditions and project progress. The reporting requirements for the program are as follows: Grantees will submit reports on the financial condition of the project and the project’s progress. Grantees will submit progress reports and the Federal Financial Report (SF–425) to the Government on a quarterly basis, beginning on the 20th of the first month of the calendar-year quarter following the execution of a grant agreement, and on the 20th of the first month of each calendar-year quarter thereafter until completion of the project. The initial report will include a detailed description, and, where appropriate, drawings, of the items funded. Grantees will also submit an Annual Budget Review and Program Plan to the Government via email 60 days prior to the end of each Agreement year that they are receiving grant funds. The Annual Budget Review and Program Plan will provide a detailed schedule of activities, estimate of specific performance objectives, include forecasted expenditures, and schedule of milestones for the upcoming year. If there is an actual or projected project cost increase, the Annual Budget Review will include a written plan for providing additional sources of funding to cover the project budget shortfall or supporting documentation of committed funds to cover the cost increase. This information will be used to monitor grantees’ use of Federal funds, ensuring accountability and financial transparency in the TIGER programs. Grantees will also submit reports on the performance (or projected performance) of the project on performance measures that the grantee and the Government select through negotiations. The Grantees will submit a Pre-project Report that will consist of current baseline data for each of the performance measures specified in the Performance Measurement Table in the PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 grant agreement negotiated between the grantee and the Government. The Preproject Report will include a detailed description of data sources, assumptions, variability, and the estimated level of precision for each measure. The Grantees will submit interim Project Performance Measurement Reports to the Government for each of the performance measures specified in the Performance Measurement Table in the grant agreement negotiated between the grantee and the Government. Grantees will submit reports at each of the intervals identified for the duration of the time period specified in the Performance Measurement Table in the grant agreement negotiated between the grantee and the Government. The Grantees will submit a Project Outcomes Report after the project is completed that will consist of a narrative discussion detailing project successes and/or the influence of external factors on project expectations. This information collected will be used to evaluate and compare projects and the monitor results that grant funds achieve, ensuring that grant funds achieved the outcomes targeted by the TIGER Discretionary Grant program. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; and 49 CFR 148. Issued in Washington, DC on August 19, 2015. Patricia Lawton, DOT Paperwork Reduction Act Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2015–21337 Filed 8–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–9X–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary of Transportation [Docket No. DOT–OST–2015–0169] Notice of Lithium Battery Safety Public Meeting and Request for Information Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation. ACTION: Notice of lithium battery safety public meeting and request for information. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Transportation, including the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, announce a SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 167 / Friday, August 28, 2015 / Notices public meeting seeking input on risk mitigation strategies to enhance the safe transport of lithium batteries by air. The meeting will include a discussion on pertinent safety recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) International Multidisciplinary Lithium Battery Transport Group. The Department also invites comments and supporting data to be posted to the docket. Information presented at the public meeting or submitted to the docket will be used to help inform the Department as it prepares to participate in relevant ICAO Panel meetings this fall, including the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) meeting, currently scheduled for October 19–30, 2015. As is customary, another public meeting will be held prior to the upcoming ICAO DGP meeting. DATES: The public meeting will be held on September 18, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Written comments also may be submitted to docket no. DOT– OST–2015–0169 at www.regulations.gov. Meeting Information: The public meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Department requests that attendees preregister for this meeting by completing the form at https:// www.surveymonkey.com/r/RZWHJMR. Failure to pre-register may delay your access to the DOT Headquarters building. If participants are attending in person, arrive early to allow time for security checks necessary to obtain access to the building. Conference callin and ‘‘live meeting’’ capability will be provided for the meeting. Conference call connection information will be provided to those who register and indicate that they will participate via conference call. An agenda will be posted to the docket prior to the meeting. We are committed to providing equal access to this meeting for all participants. If you need alternative formats or other reasonable accommodations, please call (202) 267– 9432 or email 9-AWA-ASH-ADGHazMat@faa.gov with your request by close of business on September 10, 2015. A panel of representatives from the FAA and PHMSA will be present. The meeting is intended to be informal, nonadversarial, and to facilitate the public comment process. No individual will be subject to questioning by any other participant. Government representatives on the panel may ask questions to VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:19 Aug 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 clarify statements. Unless otherwise stated, any statement made during the meetings by a panel member should not be construed as an official position of the U.S. government. The meeting will be open to all persons, subject to the capacity of the meeting room and phone lines available for those participating via conference call. Every effort will be made to accommodate all persons wishing to attend. We will try to accommodate all speakers, subject to time constraints. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: Dockets Management System; U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M–30, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590– 0001. • Hand Delivery: To U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Operations, M–30, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Instructions: Include the agency name and docket number DOT–OST–2015– 0169 for this Notice at the beginning of your comment. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov including any personal information provided. If sent by mail, comments must be submitted in duplicate. Persons wishing to receive confirmation of receipt of their comments must include a selfaddressed stamped postcard. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement at http://www.dot.gov/ privacy. Docket: You may view the public docket through the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations office at the above address (See ADDRESSES). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions for FAA regarding the meeting can be directed to Janet McLaughlin, Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, ADG–2, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52369 267–9432; email: 9-AWA-ASH-ADGHazMat@faa.gov. Questions regarding the meeting for PHMSA can be directed to Shane Kelley, Assistant International Standards Coordinator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHH–10, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590; telephone: (202) 366–8553; email: shane.kelley@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The transportation by air of lithium cells and batteries to, from, or within the United States, and on U.S. registered aircraft operating anywhere in the world is subject to the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (U.S. HMR).1 The U.S. HMR authorize the use of the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI) subject to certain conditions and limitations provided all or part of the transportation is by air.2 Representatives from the FAA and PHMSA participate in meetings of the ICAO DGP—the international body responsible for the ICAO TI. In consultation with the DOT, FAA, and other relevant government agencies, PHMSA works to periodically harmonize the provisions of the U.S. HMR with international regulatory approaches, including the ICAO TI. Safety Issue The transportation of lithium batteries by air continues to raise significant safety concerns. Lithium batteries are known to be highly flammable and capable of self-ignition. Ignition of lithium batteries can be caused by a short circuit, overcharge, exposure to extreme temperatures, mishandling, or a defect. Once a battery is induced into such a state, either by internal failure or by external means such as heating or physical damage, the battery can generate sufficient heat to cause adjacent batteries to go into thermal runaway. Testing conducted by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center (FAA Tech Center) has shown that heat and flames generated from thermal runaway in a single package can spread to adjacent packages. According to the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Association (ICCAIA), Boeing, and other aircraft manufacturers, once an event like this occurs, the fire suppression capabilities of an aircraft may be exceeded, 1 49 CFR parts 171–180. batteries are regulated as Class 9 miscellaneous hazardous materials per the ICAO TI and the U.S. HMR. 2 Lithium E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 52370 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 167 / Friday, August 28, 2015 / Notices Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES potentially leading to a catastrophic loss of the aircraft because of a fire that cannot be contained.3 The FAA Tech Center research and findings, available at http:// www.fire.tc.faa.gov, support the ICCAIA’s and aircraft manufacturers’ assessments. A fundamental concern highlighted by the FAA Tech Center’s research is that the cargo compartment fire protection standards were not designed to address the unique hazards associated with the transport of lithium batteries. Specific safety concerns include: • The potential for propagation of thermal runaway between cells or batteries in a package and between adjacent packages of batteries; • The potential for uncontrolled lithium battery fires to overwhelm the capability of existing aircraft cargo fire protection systems, leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe; and • The potential for venting of combustible gases from lithium ion cells in thermal runaway, which could collect in an enclosed environment and cause an explosion even in the presence of a suppression agent. DGP Multidisciplinary Working Group on Lithium Batteries In 2014, the ICAO DGP recognized that finding solutions to increase the safety of lithium battery transportation would require a multidisciplinary approach involving a wide range of experts, including those from the fields of dangerous goods (hazardous materials), aircraft operations, airworthiness, and battery manufacturing. This layered approach involves battery design, packaging standards, quantity limits, container capabilities, and fire suppression systems that can establish conditions in which lithium batteries may be transported without posing an unacceptable risk. To that end, in 2014, the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau organized two International Multidisciplinary Lithium Battery Transport Coordination Meetings. The first was held from February 4–6, 2014, in Atlantic City, NJ, and the second was held from September 9–11, 2014, in Cologne, Germany. Discussions during the first meeting focused primarily on lithium metal batteries and the report from the first meeting, including recommendations, can be found at: http://www.icao.int/safety/Dangerous 3 A copy of the working paper submitted to the ICAO DGP Working Group Meeting held from April 27–May 1, 2015 is available at http://www.icao.int/ safety/DangerousGoods/DGPWG15/DGPWG.15.WP .004.5.en.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:19 Aug 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 Goods/DGP/ICAO.LB.COORDINATION. Meeting.Report.pdf. The second multidisciplinary working group meeting continued the work from the February 2014 meeting and developed fourteen recommendations related to enhancing the safety of air transportation of lithium batteries. These recommendations were forwarded by the multidisciplinary group to the ICAO Dangerous Goods, Flight Operations, and Airworthiness Panels for consideration. The report from the second meeting, including all of the recommendations, can be found at: http://www.icao.int/safety/ DangerousGoods/Second %20International%20Multidisciplinary %20Lithium%20Bat/ICAO.LB. COORDINATION.2ndMeeting. Report.pdf. In April 2015, the ICAO DGP reviewed the recommendations of the multidisciplinary working group and prioritized the following efforts: (1) Developing a performance-based provision to limit the probability of propagation of thermal runaway between cells; (2) limiting lithium-ion cells to a 30% state of charge during transport as an interim means to reduce the probability of propagation of thermal runaway between cells; and (3) developing a performance-based packaging standard. On July 28, 2015, a third multidisciplinary working group meeting was convened to facilitate a focused discussion on the prioritized recommendations and develop options for addressing the recommendations for consideration by the ICAO DGP during the October 2015 meeting regarding (1) performance-based packaging standards; (2) system safety assessments for cargo aircraft; and (3) short term/interim actions that may be necessary. Recommendations for Consideration by the ICAO DGP in October 2015 As a result of the July 2015 meeting of the multidisciplinary group, draft performance criteria were discussed to improve the air transportation of lithium batteries. In addition, the working group considered a recommendation that would require operators to perform safety risk assessments in order to establish whether they can manage the risk associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger or all cargo aircraft. With respect to the performance criteria, the group favored an approach that would provide layers of mitigation options to meet the performance criteria. The determination of how to meet the performance criteria could be tailored to individual PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 circumstances and informed by a rigorous safety assessment. Finally the group discussed additional measures that could be taken while a performance standard is being developed. The draft performance criteria are based on the principle that the hazardous effects associated with thermal runaway must remain within the package. The criteria specify that no hazardous quantities of flame and no hazardous fragments can exit the package. The surface temperature of the package also must be limited to prevent thermal runaway from spreading to adjacent packages and igniting adjacent packing material. Specific test methods remain to be developed. The group recommended the following draft performance criteria, to be met at either the package level or the battery/cell level: • No hazardous amount of flame would be allowed outside of the package. • The external surface temperature of the package would not exceed the amount that would ignite packaging material or cause batteries or cells in adjacent packages to go into thermal runaway. • No hazardous fragments would be able to exit the package and the package would need to maintain its structural integrity. • The quantity of flammable vapor would need to be less than the amount of gas, that when mixed in air and ignited could cause a pressure rise in a [2.8 m3 compartment] volume that could dislodge the aircraft cargo compartment liners [3.44 kPa–6.89 kPa (.5 psi–1 psi)]. In addition to these criteria, the working group also considered whether performance criteria were necessary to address the risk associated with an external fire potentially compromising a package; however, there was no consensus reached on whether this should be part of a performance standard. The group recognized that the development of the means for compliance with the performance criteria could be done by either an ICAO working group or an external standards development organization. Additionally, the group recommended that operators perform a safety risk assessment in order to establish if they could manage safely the risks associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger or all-cargo aircraft. In order to perform a safety risk assessment, information on the types and quantities of lithium batteries and cells being transported would need to be considered. The very limited capabilities of the fire protection system E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 167 / Friday, August 28, 2015 / Notices Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with NOTICES in a lithium battery fire event also would need to be considered. The group also recommended that guidance on how to conduct and evaluate a safety risk assessment be developed for operators. Guidance on safety risk assessments for operators and oversight by regulators also is expected to be addressed at the fall meeting of the ICAO Operations Panel (Annex 6). Finally, the group was asked to consider additional interim measures that could reduce risk in air transport, including measures such as forbidding the carriage of lithium ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft, eliminating the exceptions for certain small batteries in Section II of the ICAO TI lithium battery packing instructions, and reducing the state of charge of the battery in transport. There was no consensus reached by the group on these additional measures and no new recommendations were developed; however, it is expected these topics may be discussed further within the relevant ICAO Panels this fall. Request for Public Input The DOT, FAA, and PHMSA request input from all industry stakeholders and interested individuals on strategies to enhance the safe transport of lithium batteries aboard passenger and cargo aircraft by air, to include the foregoing options which are now under consideration by the ICAO DGP, as well as the ICAO Operations and Airworthiness Panels. To the extent that any of these options are ultimately adopted as new standards or revisions to the ICAO TI, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 5120, the Department may consider adopting the standards or revised ICAO TI through a rulemaking action. Therefore, the Department requests input at the upcoming public meeting, as well as submissions to the docket on risk mitigation strategies, information, and data to help further inform our work in this area as we prepare to participate in the fall 2015 ICAO Panel meetings regarding these subjects. Specifically, the Department invites comment and recommendations, as well as any relevant supporting data, in the following areas: • The draft performance criteria recommended by the third multidisciplinary group and how the criteria might be met at the packaging level or at the battery level to address the aviation fire hazards that have been identified. • The recommendation that operators be required to perform a safety risk assessment in order to ensure management of the risks associated with VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:19 Aug 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger or all-cargo aircraft to an acceptable level of safety. • Additional measures which the group did not reach full consensus on, including: Æ Consideration of the effects of an external fire as an element of the performance criteria to protect against the risks of a fire not initiated by a battery within a package. Æ Forbidding the carriage of lithium ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft, as an interim measure. Æ Eliminating the exceptions for certain small batteries in Section II of the ICAO TI lithium battery packing instructions or alternative means to identify the types and quantities of lithium batteries or cells being transported in order to effectively inform a safety risk assessment. Æ Reducing the state of charge of the battery in transport. • Qualitative and quantitative information on the potential impacts of implementing the above recommendations and/or additional measures, such as: Æ Determination of the current level of exposure to these fire hazards—Data or information on the volumes of batteries currently transported on passenger aircraft or those utilizing the provisions of section II of the ICAO TI. Æ Establishment of the current baseline—Data or information regarding the effectiveness of the current requirements, evolution in the market, voluntary safety actions, and emerging safety risks. Æ Potential benefits—Data or information providing estimates of potential safety benefits related to the recommendations and additional measures under consideration by ICAO, as well as alternatives that provide comparable or greater safety benefits. Æ Potential costs—Data or information providing estimates of potential costs associated with the recommendations and additional measures under consideration by ICAO. Æ Studies or analysis on the effectiveness of the recommendations and additional measures—Any studies that address how lithium batteries in differing packaging types or at varying charge states behave in aviation fire scenarios. Issued in Washington, DC, on August 24, 2015. Kathryn B. Thomson, General Counsel. [FR Doc. 2015–21416 Filed 8–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–9X–P PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52371 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Bureau of Transportation Statistics [Docket ID Number: DOT–OST–2014–0031] Agency Information Collection; Activity Under OMB Review; Airline Service Quality Performance—Part 234 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST–R), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), DOT. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below is being forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for re-instatement of an expired collection. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on June 15, 2015 (80 FR 34198). There were no comments. DATES: Written comments should be submitted by September 28, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cecelia Robinson, Office of Airline Information, RTS–42, Room E34–410, OST–R, BTS, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001, Telephone Number (202) 366–4405, Fax Number (202) 366–3383 or EMAIL cecelia.robinson@dot.gov. Comments: Send comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725–17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: OST Desk Officer. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB Approval No. 2138–0041. Title: Airline Service Quality Performance –Part 234. Form No.: BTS Form 234 Type of Review: Re-instatement of an expired collection. Respondents: Large certificated air carriers that account for at least 1 percent of domestic scheduled passenger revenues. Number of Respondents: 14. Total Number of Annual Responses: 168. Estimated Time per Response: 20 hours. Total Annual Burden: 3,360 hours. SUMMARY: Needs and Uses Consumer Information Part 234 gives air travelers information concerning their chances of E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 167 (Friday, August 28, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52368-52371]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-21416]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary of Transportation

[Docket No. DOT-OST-2015-0169]


Notice of Lithium Battery Safety Public Meeting and Request for 
Information

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal 
Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Notice of lithium battery safety public meeting and request for 
information.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Transportation, including the Federal 
Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety 
and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's 
(PHMSA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, announce a

[[Page 52369]]

public meeting seeking input on risk mitigation strategies to enhance 
the safe transport of lithium batteries by air. The meeting will 
include a discussion on pertinent safety recommendations of the 
International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) International 
Multidisciplinary Lithium Battery Transport Group. The Department also 
invites comments and supporting data to be posted to the docket. 
Information presented at the public meeting or submitted to the docket 
will be used to help inform the Department as it prepares to 
participate in relevant ICAO Panel meetings this fall, including the 
ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) meeting, currently scheduled for 
October 19-30, 2015. As is customary, another public meeting will be 
held prior to the upcoming ICAO DGP meeting.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on September 18, 2015, from 1:00 
p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Written comments also may be submitted to docket 
no. DOT-OST-2015-0169 at www.regulations.gov.
    Meeting Information: The public meeting will be held at the U.S. 
Department of Transportation Headquarters, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590. The Department requests that attendees pre-
register for this meeting by completing the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RZWHJMR. Failure to pre-register may delay your 
access to the DOT Headquarters building. If participants are attending 
in person, arrive early to allow time for security checks necessary to 
obtain access to the building. Conference call-in and ``live meeting'' 
capability will be provided for the meeting. Conference call connection 
information will be provided to those who register and indicate that 
they will participate via conference call. An agenda will be posted to 
the docket prior to the meeting.
    We are committed to providing equal access to this meeting for all 
participants. If you need alternative formats or other reasonable 
accommodations, please call (202) 267-9432 or email 9-AWA-ASH-ADG-HazMat@faa.gov with your request by close of business on September 10, 
2015.
    A panel of representatives from the FAA and PHMSA will be present. 
The meeting is intended to be informal, non-adversarial, and to 
facilitate the public comment process. No individual will be subject to 
questioning by any other participant. Government representatives on the 
panel may ask questions to clarify statements. Unless otherwise stated, 
any statement made during the meetings by a panel member should not be 
construed as an official position of the U.S. government. The meeting 
will be open to all persons, subject to the capacity of the meeting 
room and phone lines available for those participating via conference 
call. Every effort will be made to accommodate all persons wishing to 
attend. We will try to accommodate all speakers, subject to time 
constraints.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Dockets Management System; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: To U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Dockets Operations, M-30, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Instructions: Include 
the agency name and docket number DOT-OST-2015-0169 for this Notice at 
the beginning of your comment. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov including any 
personal information provided. If sent by mail, comments must be 
submitted in duplicate. Persons wishing to receive confirmation of 
receipt of their comments must include a self-addressed stamped 
postcard.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any 
written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by 
the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the 
document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor 
union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement at 
http://www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Docket: You may view the public docket through the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations office 
at the above address (See ADDRESSES).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions for FAA regarding the 
meeting can be directed to Janet McLaughlin, Director, Office of 
Hazardous Materials Safety, ADG-2, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-
9432; email: 9-AWA-ASH-ADG-HazMat@faa.gov. Questions regarding the 
meeting for PHMSA can be directed to Shane Kelley, Assistant 
International Standards Coordinator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials 
Safety Administration, PHH-10, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 
20590; telephone: (202) 366-8553; email: shane.kelley@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The transportation by air of lithium cells and batteries to, from, 
or within the United States, and on U.S. registered aircraft operating 
anywhere in the world is subject to the U.S. Hazardous Materials 
Regulations (U.S. HMR).\1\ The U.S. HMR authorize the use of the ICAO 
Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air 
(ICAO TI) subject to certain conditions and limitations provided all or 
part of the transportation is by air.\2\ Representatives from the FAA 
and PHMSA participate in meetings of the ICAO DGP--the international 
body responsible for the ICAO TI. In consultation with the DOT, FAA, 
and other relevant government agencies, PHMSA works to periodically 
harmonize the provisions of the U.S. HMR with international regulatory 
approaches, including the ICAO TI.
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    \1\ 49 CFR parts 171-180.
    \2\ Lithium batteries are regulated as Class 9 miscellaneous 
hazardous materials per the ICAO TI and the U.S. HMR.
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Safety Issue

    The transportation of lithium batteries by air continues to raise 
significant safety concerns. Lithium batteries are known to be highly 
flammable and capable of self-ignition. Ignition of lithium batteries 
can be caused by a short circuit, overcharge, exposure to extreme 
temperatures, mishandling, or a defect. Once a battery is induced into 
such a state, either by internal failure or by external means such as 
heating or physical damage, the battery can generate sufficient heat to 
cause adjacent batteries to go into thermal runaway.
    Testing conducted by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center 
(FAA Tech Center) has shown that heat and flames generated from thermal 
runaway in a single package can spread to adjacent packages. According 
to the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries 
Association (ICCAIA), Boeing, and other aircraft manufacturers, once an 
event like this occurs, the fire suppression capabilities of an 
aircraft may be exceeded,

[[Page 52370]]

potentially leading to a catastrophic loss of the aircraft because of a 
fire that cannot be contained.\3\
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    \3\ A copy of the working paper submitted to the ICAO DGP 
Working Group Meeting held from April 27-May 1, 2015 is available at 
http://www.icao.int/safety/DangerousGoods/DGPWG15/DGPWG.15.WP.004.5.en.pdf.
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    The FAA Tech Center research and findings, available at http://www.fire.tc.faa.gov, support the ICCAIA's and aircraft manufacturers' 
assessments. A fundamental concern highlighted by the FAA Tech Center's 
research is that the cargo compartment fire protection standards were 
not designed to address the unique hazards associated with the 
transport of lithium batteries. Specific safety concerns include:
     The potential for propagation of thermal runaway between 
cells or batteries in a package and between adjacent packages of 
batteries;
     The potential for uncontrolled lithium battery fires to 
overwhelm the capability of existing aircraft cargo fire protection 
systems, leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe; and
     The potential for venting of combustible gases from 
lithium ion cells in thermal runaway, which could collect in an 
enclosed environment and cause an explosion even in the presence of a 
suppression agent.

DGP Multidisciplinary Working Group on Lithium Batteries

    In 2014, the ICAO DGP recognized that finding solutions to increase 
the safety of lithium battery transportation would require a 
multidisciplinary approach involving a wide range of experts, including 
those from the fields of dangerous goods (hazardous materials), 
aircraft operations, airworthiness, and battery manufacturing. This 
layered approach involves battery design, packaging standards, quantity 
limits, container capabilities, and fire suppression systems that can 
establish conditions in which lithium batteries may be transported 
without posing an unacceptable risk.
    To that end, in 2014, the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau organized two 
International Multidisciplinary Lithium Battery Transport Coordination 
Meetings. The first was held from February 4-6, 2014, in Atlantic City, 
NJ, and the second was held from September 9-11, 2014, in Cologne, 
Germany. Discussions during the first meeting focused primarily on 
lithium metal batteries and the report from the first meeting, 
including recommendations, can be found at: http://www.icao.int/safety/DangerousGoods/DGP/ICAO.LB.COORDINATION.Meeting.Report.pdf.
    The second multidisciplinary working group meeting continued the 
work from the February 2014 meeting and developed fourteen 
recommendations related to enhancing the safety of air transportation 
of lithium batteries. These recommendations were forwarded by the 
multidisciplinary group to the ICAO Dangerous Goods, Flight Operations, 
and Airworthiness Panels for consideration. The report from the second 
meeting, including all of the recommendations, can be found at: http://www.icao.int/safety/DangerousGoods/Second%20International%20Multidisciplinary%20Lithium%20Bat/ICAO.LB.COORDINATION.2ndMeeting.Report.pdf.
    In April 2015, the ICAO DGP reviewed the recommendations of the 
multidisciplinary working group and prioritized the following efforts: 
(1) Developing a performance-based provision to limit the probability 
of propagation of thermal runaway between cells; (2) limiting lithium-
ion cells to a 30% state of charge during transport as an interim means 
to reduce the probability of propagation of thermal runaway between 
cells; and (3) developing a performance-based packaging standard.
    On July 28, 2015, a third multidisciplinary working group meeting 
was convened to facilitate a focused discussion on the prioritized 
recommendations and develop options for addressing the recommendations 
for consideration by the ICAO DGP during the October 2015 meeting 
regarding (1) performance-based packaging standards; (2) system safety 
assessments for cargo aircraft; and (3) short term/interim actions that 
may be necessary.

Recommendations for Consideration by the ICAO DGP in October 2015

    As a result of the July 2015 meeting of the multidisciplinary 
group, draft performance criteria were discussed to improve the air 
transportation of lithium batteries. In addition, the working group 
considered a recommendation that would require operators to perform 
safety risk assessments in order to establish whether they can manage 
the risk associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on 
passenger or all cargo aircraft. With respect to the performance 
criteria, the group favored an approach that would provide layers of 
mitigation options to meet the performance criteria. The determination 
of how to meet the performance criteria could be tailored to individual 
circumstances and informed by a rigorous safety assessment. Finally the 
group discussed additional measures that could be taken while a 
performance standard is being developed.
    The draft performance criteria are based on the principle that the 
hazardous effects associated with thermal runaway must remain within 
the package. The criteria specify that no hazardous quantities of flame 
and no hazardous fragments can exit the package. The surface 
temperature of the package also must be limited to prevent thermal 
runaway from spreading to adjacent packages and igniting adjacent 
packing material. Specific test methods remain to be developed.
    The group recommended the following draft performance criteria, to 
be met at either the package level or the battery/cell level:
     No hazardous amount of flame would be allowed outside of 
the package.
     The external surface temperature of the package would not 
exceed the amount that would ignite packaging material or cause 
batteries or cells in adjacent packages to go into thermal runaway.
     No hazardous fragments would be able to exit the package 
and the package would need to maintain its structural integrity.
     The quantity of flammable vapor would need to be less than 
the amount of gas, that when mixed in air and ignited could cause a 
pressure rise in a [2.8 m3 compartment] volume that could dislodge the 
aircraft cargo compartment liners [3.44 kPa-6.89 kPa (.5 psi-1 psi)].
    In addition to these criteria, the working group also considered 
whether performance criteria were necessary to address the risk 
associated with an external fire potentially compromising a package; 
however, there was no consensus reached on whether this should be part 
of a performance standard. The group recognized that the development of 
the means for compliance with the performance criteria could be done by 
either an ICAO working group or an external standards development 
organization.
    Additionally, the group recommended that operators perform a safety 
risk assessment in order to establish if they could manage safely the 
risks associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on 
passenger or all-cargo aircraft. In order to perform a safety risk 
assessment, information on the types and quantities of lithium 
batteries and cells being transported would need to be considered. The 
very limited capabilities of the fire protection system

[[Page 52371]]

in a lithium battery fire event also would need to be considered. The 
group also recommended that guidance on how to conduct and evaluate a 
safety risk assessment be developed for operators. Guidance on safety 
risk assessments for operators and oversight by regulators also is 
expected to be addressed at the fall meeting of the ICAO Operations 
Panel (Annex 6).
    Finally, the group was asked to consider additional interim 
measures that could reduce risk in air transport, including measures 
such as forbidding the carriage of lithium ion batteries as cargo on 
passenger aircraft, eliminating the exceptions for certain small 
batteries in Section II of the ICAO TI lithium battery packing 
instructions, and reducing the state of charge of the battery in 
transport. There was no consensus reached by the group on these 
additional measures and no new recommendations were developed; however, 
it is expected these topics may be discussed further within the 
relevant ICAO Panels this fall.

Request for Public Input

    The DOT, FAA, and PHMSA request input from all industry 
stakeholders and interested individuals on strategies to enhance the 
safe transport of lithium batteries aboard passenger and cargo aircraft 
by air, to include the foregoing options which are now under 
consideration by the ICAO DGP, as well as the ICAO Operations and 
Airworthiness Panels. To the extent that any of these options are 
ultimately adopted as new standards or revisions to the ICAO TI, 
consistent with 49 U.S.C. 5120, the Department may consider adopting 
the standards or revised ICAO TI through a rulemaking action. 
Therefore, the Department requests input at the upcoming public 
meeting, as well as submissions to the docket on risk mitigation 
strategies, information, and data to help further inform our work in 
this area as we prepare to participate in the fall 2015 ICAO Panel 
meetings regarding these subjects.
    Specifically, the Department invites comment and recommendations, 
as well as any relevant supporting data, in the following areas:
     The draft performance criteria recommended by the third 
multidisciplinary group and how the criteria might be met at the 
packaging level or at the battery level to address the aviation fire 
hazards that have been identified.
     The recommendation that operators be required to perform a 
safety risk assessment in order to ensure management of the risks 
associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on 
passenger or all-cargo aircraft to an acceptable level of safety.
     Additional measures which the group did not reach full 
consensus on, including:
    [cir] Consideration of the effects of an external fire as an 
element of the performance criteria to protect against the risks of a 
fire not initiated by a battery within a package.
    [cir] Forbidding the carriage of lithium ion batteries as cargo on 
passenger aircraft, as an interim measure.
    [cir] Eliminating the exceptions for certain small batteries in 
Section II of the ICAO TI lithium battery packing instructions or 
alternative means to identify the types and quantities of lithium 
batteries or cells being transported in order to effectively inform a 
safety risk assessment.
    [cir] Reducing the state of charge of the battery in transport.
     Qualitative and quantitative information on the potential 
impacts of implementing the above recommendations and/or additional 
measures, such as:
    [cir] Determination of the current level of exposure to these fire 
hazards--Data or information on the volumes of batteries currently 
transported on passenger aircraft or those utilizing the provisions of 
section II of the ICAO TI.
    [cir] Establishment of the current baseline--Data or information 
regarding the effectiveness of the current requirements, evolution in 
the market, voluntary safety actions, and emerging safety risks.
    [cir] Potential benefits--Data or information providing estimates 
of potential safety benefits related to the recommendations and 
additional measures under consideration by ICAO, as well as 
alternatives that provide comparable or greater safety benefits.
    [cir] Potential costs--Data or information providing estimates of 
potential costs associated with the recommendations and additional 
measures under consideration by ICAO.
    [cir] Studies or analysis on the effectiveness of the 
recommendations and additional measures--Any studies that address how 
lithium batteries in differing packaging types or at varying charge 
states behave in aviation fire scenarios.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 24, 2015.
Kathryn B. Thomson,
General Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-21416 Filed 8-27-15; 8:45 am]
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