Wide Coalition of Interest Groups and Companies Send Letters in Support of Congressman Ritchie Torres’s Lithium-Ion Battery Bill

Yesterday, the following interest groups and companies sent letters to Speaker Mike Johnson, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Senate Commerce Committee in support of Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15)’s bill, H.R. 1797, the Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act: Consumer Reports, Grubhub, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Chamber of Progress, Consumer Federation of America (CFA), DoorDash, Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), Flex Association, Hunger Free America, JOCO, Kids in Danger (KID), Lyft, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, National ACE, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), New York League of Conservation Voters, Partnership for New York City, PeopleForBikes (P4B), Queens Chamber of Commerce, Safe Kids Worldwide, The Business Council of New York State, The United States Conference of Mayors, and Uber.

The bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish a final consumer product safety standard for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in micromobility devices, such as electric scooters and bikes, to protect against the risk of fires caused by such batteries.

In the letter, they wrote:

“Micromobility products can be a useful, cost-effective, sustainable, efficient and fun way to get around or earn extra income. These devices have soared in popularity in recent years, and many are manufactured overseas and imported to the U.S. to meet the unprecedented demand. Unfortunately, fires and explosions linked to some of these products have also proliferated. Since 2021, micromobility devices using high energy density batteries have been linked to hundreds of fires and dozens of fatalities across the country, including multiple children. From January 1, 2021, through November 28, 2022, the CPSC documented 19 deaths associated with micromobility-related fires. In 2023, in New York City alone, malfunctioning lithium-ion batteries were linked to at least 243 fires and 18 deaths—up from six deaths in all of 2022. Since the beginning of 2024, there have already been several reports of fires linked to these products in a number of states.

“On December 6, 2023, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed an updated version of the legislation that directs the CPSC to create a stronger, more comprehensive safety standard for lithium-ion batteries used in micromobility devices. We strongly support these changes, which expand the scope of the legislation to include equipment related to or used in conjunction with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, including chargers, cables, external packs on chargers and freestanding charging stages. We believe this legislation, as amended, is well positioned to combat the increasing frequency of lithium-ion battery-related fires and will ultimately save lives.

“The diverse nature of the undersigned organizations underscores the urgency with which this issue needs to be addressed. No one sector—public safety, private industry, consumer or environmental advocacy—can comprehensively address this growing problem alone. A strong national safety standard enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission is the only solution.”

In response to the letter, Rep. Torres said:

“I am deeply grateful to the wide and overwhelming coalition of leaders in private industry and advocacy groups that are speaking out in support of this crucial piece of legislation. At the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on February 15th, there was bipartisan agreement that this legislation is the correct path for Congress to pursue. It is abundantly clear that the bill has the necessary buy-in from stakeholders and even amongst bipartisan members of Congress — now, we need to ensure it makes it onto the House and Senate floors for a vote.

“Lithium-ion batteries pose an escalating threat to the public’s safety. I’m grateful to the hundreds of first responders who continue to bravely respond to these incidents and do all they can to save lives and property, but the time has come for the federal government to act because this problem is not isolated to just New York. We must work to create and implement national safety standards for lithium-ion batteries in order to protect people and places from unreasonable risk, serious injury or damage, and/or death.”

The bill underscores Rep. Torres’s unwavering commitment to improving fire safety for New Yorkers and all Americans. He previously introduced the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act in the wake of the deadly Twin Parks North West fire last year, which President Biden signed into law, and is currently leading the Safer Heat Act of 2023 to address underlying manufacturing issues and safety concerns with space heaters.

Both letters in full are attached below. The bill text can be found at this link.

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