Norton Requests Committee Hearing on Transportation of Lithium Batteries on Airplanes

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released her letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) asking for a committee hearing to examine the transportation of lithium batteries by air and U.S. efforts to ban electronics larger than cellphones in carry-on bags on commercial airplanes. Norton said without congressional oversight federal agencies are flying blind on this dangerous issue, which could bring down an airplane. She said there have been reported incidents of batteries accidentally exploding or catching fire on aircrafts and there has been an increased threat of lithium batteries being used in a terrorist attack.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

In her letter, Norton wrote, “Experts have pointed out that fires caused by lithium batteries are more easily detected within the cabin of an aircraft as opposed to within the cargo hold. We need to learn more about the threats electronics and lithium batteries pose on board aircraft, whether in carry-ons or stowed in checked luggage.”

Norton’s full letter is below.

Honorable Bill Shuster
Chairman
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
2251 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Peter DeFazio
Ranking Member
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
2164 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio:

I write to request a hearing on transportation of lithium batteries by air and U.S. efforts to ban electronics larger than cellphones in carry-on bags on commercial airplanes. We have all seen the videos of devices using lithium ion batteries burst into flames. The Administration put in place this ban on planes arriving from 10 specific airports in the Middle East and North Africa earlier this year. However, the Administration has chosen not to go so far as to broaden this ban to European airports after reassessing the potential threat posed by these electronics in the hands of terrorists. Experts have pointed out that fires caused by lithium batteries are more easily detected within the cabin of an aircraft as opposed to within the cargo hold. We need to learn more about the threats electronics and lithium batteries pose on board aircraft, whether in carry-ons or stowed in checked luggage.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is proud to serve the District of Columbia.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her thirteenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Contact:

Phone: (202) 408-9041
Fax: (202) 408-9048

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