PORTABLE FUEL CONTAINER SAFETY ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 149
(House of Representatives - September 17, 2019)

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[Pages H7727-H7729]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




               PORTABLE FUEL CONTAINER SAFETY ACT OF 2019

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 806) to require compliant flame mitigation devices to be 
used on portable fuel containers for flammable liquid fuels, and for 
other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 806

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Portable Fuel Container 
     Safety Act of 2019''.

     SEC. 2. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS TO PROTECT AGAINST PORTABLE 
                   FUEL CONTAINER EXPLOSIONS NEAR OPEN FLAMES OR 
                   OTHER IGNITION SOURCES.

       (a) Rule on Safety Performance Standards Required.--Not 
     later than 30 months after the date of enactment of this 
     section, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (referred to 
     in this Act as the ``Commission'') shall promulgate a final 
     rule to require flame mitigation devices in portable fuel 
     containers that impede the propagation of flame into the 
     container, except as provided in subsection (c).
       (b) Rulemaking; Consumer Product Safety Standard.--A rule 
     under subsection (a)--
       (1) shall be promulgated in accordance with section 553 of 
     title 5, United States Code; and
       (2) shall be treated as a consumer product safety rule 
     promulgated under section 9 of the Consumer Product Safety 
     Act (15 U.S.C. 2058).
       (c) Exception.--
       (1) Voluntary standard.--Subsection (a) shall not apply for 
     a class of portable fuel containers in the scope of this Act 
     if the Commission determines at any time that--
       (A) there is a voluntary standard for flame mitigation 
     devices for those containers that impedes the propagation of 
     flame into the container;
       (B) the voluntary standard described in subparagraph (A) is 
     or will be in effect not later than 18 months after the date 
     of enactment of this Act; and
       (C) the voluntary standard described in subparagraph (A) is 
     developed by ASTM International or such other standard 
     development organization that the Commission determines to 
     have met the intent of this Act.
       (2) Determination required to be published in the federal 
     register.--Any determination made by the Commission under 
     this subsection shall be published in the Federal Register.
       (d) Treatment of Voluntary Standard for Purpose of 
     Enforcement.--If the Commission determines that a voluntary 
     standard meets the conditions described in subsection (c), 
     the requirements of such voluntary standard shall be treated 
     as a consumer product safety rule promulgated under section 9 
     of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2058) beginning 
     on the date which is the later of--
       (1) 180 days after publication of the Commission's 
     determination under subsection (c); or
       (2) the effective date contained in the voluntary standard.
       (e) Revision of Voluntary Standard.--
       (1) Notice to commission.--If the requirements of a 
     voluntary standard that meet the conditions of subsection (c) 
     are subsequently

[[Page H7728]]

     revised, the organization that revised the standard shall 
     notify the Commission after the final approval of the 
     revision.
       (2) Effective date of revision.--Not later than 180 days 
     after the Commission is notified of a revised voluntary 
     standard described in paragraph (1) (or such later date as 
     the Commission determines appropriate), such revised 
     voluntary standard shall become enforceable as a consumer 
     product safety rule promulgated under section 9 of the 
     Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2058), in place of the 
     prior version, unless within 90 days after receiving the 
     notice the Commission determines that the revised voluntary 
     standard does not meet the requirements described in 
     subsection (c).
       (f) Future Rulemaking.--The Commission, at any time after 
     publication of the consumer product safety rule required by 
     subsection (a), a voluntary standard is treated as a consumer 
     product safety rule under subsection (d), or a revision is 
     enforceable as a consumer product safety rule under 
     subsection (e) may initiate a rulemaking in accordance with 
     section 553 of title 5, United States Code, to modify the 
     requirements or to include any additional provision that the 
     Commission determines is reasonably necessary to protect the 
     public against flame jetting from a portable fuel container. 
     Any rule promulgated under this subsection shall be treated 
     as a consumer product safety rule promulgated under section 9 
     of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2058).
       (g) Action Required.--
       (1) Education campaign.--Not later than 1 year after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall undertake 
     a campaign to educate consumers about the dangers associated 
     with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable 
     liquids near an open flame or any other source of ignition.
       (2) Summary of actions.--Not later than 2 years after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to 
     Congress a summary of actions taken by the Commission in such 
     campaign.
       (h) Portable Fuel Container Defined.--In this section, the 
     term ``portable fuel container'' means any container or 
     vessel (including any spout, cap, and other closure mechanism 
     or component of such container or vessel or any retrofit or 
     aftermarket spout or component intended or reasonably 
     anticipated to be for use with such container)--
       (1) intended for flammable liquid fuels with a flash point 
     less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, including gasoline, 
     kerosene, diesel, ethanol, methanol, denatured alcohol, or 
     biofuels;
       (2) that is a consumer product with a capacity of 5 gallons 
     or less; and
       (3) that the manufacturer knows or reasonably should know 
     is used by consumers for transporting, storing, and 
     dispensing flammable liquid fuels.
       (i) Rule of Construction.--This section may not be 
     interpreted to conflict with the Children's Gasoline Burn 
     Prevention Act (Public Law 110-278; 122 Stat. 2602).

     SEC. 3. CHILDREN'S GASOLINE BURN PREVENTION ACT.

       (a) Amendment.--Section 2(c) of the Children's Gasoline 
     Burn Prevention Act (15 U.S.C. 2056 note; Public Law 110-278) 
     is amended by inserting after ``for use by consumers'' the 
     following: ``and any receptacle for gasoline, kerosene, or 
     diesel fuel, including any spout, cap, and other closure 
     mechanism and component of such receptacle or any retrofit or 
     aftermarket spout or component intended or reasonably 
     anticipated to be for use with such receptacle, produced or 
     distributed for sale to or use by consumers for transport of, 
     or refueling of internal combustion engines with, gasoline, 
     kerosene, or diesel fuel''.
       (b) Applicability.--The amendment made by subsection (a) 
     shall take effect 6 months after the date of enactment of 
     this section.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Long) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Illinois.


                             General Leave

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous materials on H.R. 806.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Illinois?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 806, the Portable Fuel 
Container Safety Act of 2019.
  This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representative   Mike 
Thompson and   David Joyce, a bipartisan cosponsorship. It was advanced 
out of the Energy and Commerce Committee on July 17, 2019, by voice 
vote.
  Portable fuel containers are used for many everyday purposes by 
adults and kids alike. For example, we might see them used to transport 
or store fuel for the lawnmower or the backyard fire pit, and your son 
or daughter might use them in their high school chemistry class.
  What many users don't realize is that these containers are highly 
explosive. Each year, they send thousands of people to the emergency 
room, including with third-degree burns.
  The explosions that they make, known as flame jetting, occur when 
flammable vapors escape from the open nozzle and are ignited.
  These explosions, however, are preventable. A small piece of mesh, 
known as a flame arrester, can be added to the container's spout to 
eliminate the conditions that create explosions, and they cost just 
pennies. There is no reason they shouldn't be standard in all portable 
fuel containers.
  The Portable Fuel Container Safety Act will make sure that all 
portable fuel containers have flame mitigation devices, and it will 
save lives.
  Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my colleagues who introduced this bill. 
I also want to thank Margrett Lewis, who has witnessed firsthand the 
horrors of such an explosion and who has been such a fierce advocate 
for many years.
  Mr. Speaker, I call on all my colleagues to support this bipartisan 
measure, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LONG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission 
to issue a consumer product safety rule to require flame mitigation 
devices on portable fuel containers. Furthermore, it directs CPSC to 
conduct an education campaign to alert consumers to the dangers of 
using or storing portable fuel containers near ignition sources and to 
report to Congress on the campaign.
  In addition, it amends the Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act to 
expand existing child-resistance requirements for closures for portable 
gasoline containers to include portable kerosene and diesel fuel 
containers and component parts.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Margrett Lewis for her tireless efforts 
to help get this bill across the House floor today. She turned her 
personal tragedy into passionate advocacy in an effort to prevent 
others from facing a similar incident.
  I thank everybody for their work on this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I congratulate Mr. Thompson and his bipartisan group of 
cosponsors, and I am pleased to support addressing this important 
safety issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 806, and I reserve 
the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1630

  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to yield such time as he 
may consume to the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson), who really 
brought this bill to the attention of our committee and subcommittee 
and garnered the support that is needed to make sure that death, 
disfigurement, and tragedy don't occur because of these products.
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for 
yielding the time, and for all of her effort and help in making sure 
this bill passes.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of my legislation that 
addresses a dangerous and deadly public safety issue by directing the 
Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish a standard for 
requiring flame mitigation devices to be used in portable fuel 
containers and to help educate our communities about the dangers of 
flame jetting.
  This issue is very personal to me. I met with local fire officials 
and Margrett Priest Lewis, a mother and constituent. Margrett's 
daughter, along with her twin sister and a few friends, were roasting 
marshmallows. Their portable fireplace used a common biofuel that, 
unfortunately, did not have a flame mitigation device. As Margrett's 
daughter went to refuel the outdoor fireplace, the fuel exploded from 
the bottle in a process called flame jetting, which you heard about 
earlier. Portable fuel containers are found in households across 
America and, yet, even when used correctly, like in the case of 
Margrett's family, present a risk for severe injury and, in some cases, 
death.
  This story of survival and Margrett's advocacy on behalf of burn 
survivors

[[Page H7729]]

has inspired my legislation, and she has been the driving force behind 
this bill.
  Flammable or combustible liquids cause over 160,000 fires per year, 
$1.5 billion in property damage, and some 4,000 injuries and over 450 
deaths every year. These accidents can happen in any community, and the 
results can be devastating. These accidents are caused when fuel vapors 
flash back and ignite the container contents, leading to flame to flame 
jetting or explosions. These accidents are easily preventable.
  Flame mitigation devices can prevent accidents caused by flammable 
vapors igniting within liquid containers. While workplace safety 
regulations govern the use of approved flame mitigation devices in 
flammable liquid containers for industrial use, there is no requirement 
for consumer containers used in homes, campsites, or schools across our 
country.
  This bipartisan solution is supported by a broad coalition, including 
the American Burn Association, the Congressional Fire Services 
Institute, the International Association of Fire Fighters, 
International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Volunteer Fire 
Council, National Fire Protection Association, the Consumer Federation 
of America, the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, the Portable Fuel 
Container Manufacturers Association, and the National Association of 
State Fire Marshals.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record the National Association of 
State Fire Marshals' letter of support.

                                           National Association of


                                          State Fire Marshals,

                                 Maitland, FL, September 16, 2019.
     Hon. Mike Thompson,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congressman Thompson: The National Association of 
     State Fire Marshals (NASFM) membership comprises the most 
     senior state fire officials in the United States, with a 
     primary mission of protecting human life, property and the 
     environment from fire and related public safety issues. 
     Therefore, NASFM strongly endorses H.R. 806, Portable Fuel 
     Container Safety Act of 2019.
       Flammable or combustible liquids cause over 160,000 fires 
     per year, causing $1.5 billion in property damage, almost 
     4,000 injuries and 454 deaths annually. These accidents can 
     happen in any community, and the results can be devastating.
       Flame Mitigation Devices (FMD), such as flame arresters, 
     can help prevent accidents caused by flammable vapors 
     igniting within the liquid container, causing an explosion or 
     flash fire. While workplace safety regulations govern the use 
     of approved flame arresters in flammable liquid containers 
     for industrial use, there is no requirement for consumer 
     containers used in homes, camp sites, and schools across the 
     country.
       H.R. 806, Portable Fuel Container Safety Act of 2019 would 
     address this gap by directing the Consumer Product Safety 
     Commission to establish a standard for requiring FMDs to be 
     used in these containers and reduce the risk of catastrophic 
     accidents.
       Thank you again for your leadership, NASFM looks forward to 
     working with you to enact into law this important fire safety 
     prevention legislation.
           Sincerely,

                                                    Jim Narva,

                                               Executive Director,
                      National Association of State Fire Marshals.

  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I urge every Member of this 
body to keep our constituents and their children safe by passing this 
bipartisan, commonsense consumer safety bill.
  I thank the cosponsor, Mr. Joyce of Ohio, and, again, Chairwoman 
Schakowsky, for helping move this bill through her subcommittee.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge everyone to vote in favor of this bill.
  Mr. LONG. Mr. Speaker, in closing, I urge my colleagues to support 
H.R. 806, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, once again, I thank the sponsors of this 
bill and Congressman Long for his participation. It means so much to 
me. I thank him for his help and his friendship.
  I want to say that the story of Margrett and her daughter--her 
daughter has had countless surgeries as a consequence. She is one of 
the people who survived, but her life has been transformed forever, and 
we can prevent this with this legislation.
  I want to give a special shout-out to the committee staff and the 
subcommittee staff on the Democratic side, as well as on the Republican 
side. I want to thank sincerely my staff in my office for all of their 
help on this bill. This is another one of those that will definitely be 
improving and saving the lives of so many Americans and ridding our 
country of this danger.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 
806, the Portable Fuel Container Safety Act of 2019.
  I want to thank Congressman Mike Thompson for introducing H.R. 806 
which will help to save the lives of countless children.
  H.R. 806 directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to 
require fuel containers to include devices that impede flames from 
entering the container.
  This requirement applies to flammable, liquid fuel containers of 
fewer than five gallons that are intended for transport.
  The bill also requires child resistant caps on kerosene and diesel 
fuel containers.
  CPSC may either promulgate a rule or adopt an existing standard.
  Additionally, CPSC must educate consumers about dangers associated 
with using or storing such containers near an open flame or a source of 
ignition.
  On September 21, 2013, a 10-year-old boy, Christopher Allsup, died 
when an old red plastic gas container exploded showering him with 
burning gasoline.
  Over 90 percent of his body was burnt.
  He was flown to the University of Iowa Burn Center where he lived for 
only 5 hours.
  In 2010, Robert Jacoby had poured gasoline from a gas can onto a 
brush pile he planned to ignite, he then walked the can 20 feet from 
the pile when it exploded.
  He said he had not yet lit a match or any other fire but claimed a 
spark from static electricity created by the friction between the 
plastic can and his denim jeans was the source of ignition.
  Jacoby suffered severe burns over 75 percent of his body and spent 
four months in a burn unit, incurring $1.5 million in medical bills.
  In August in preparation for Hurricane Dorian a resident of Fort 
Myers, Florida had filled several gasoline canisters and stored them 
next to a natural gas-powered water heater.
  A hot shower triggered the water heater causing it to work harder 
with the vapors of the gasoline ultimately starting a fire in the 
garage.
  Luckily, water coming from the pipe sprayed everywhere, containing 
the fire to the garage.
  Gasoline from gas cans is responsible for deaths and injuries both 
from ignition and the volatile vapors as well as from direct aspiration 
into the lung or aspiration following vomiting of ingested gasoline.
  For children, the most serious types of injuries associated with 
exposure to gasoline are burns following ignition of the volatile 
vapors, chemical pneumonia, pulmonary damage, and possible death 
associated with direct aspiration into the lungs or aspiration during 
vomiting following ingestion.
  The filling of portable fuel containers or ``gas cans'' in pickup 
trucks and cars can result in serious fires as a result from the 
buildup of static electricity from the bed liner or carpet.
  Under certain limited conditions--including a very low volume of 
gasoline left inside--a flashback explosion can occur inside a plastic 
gas can, when gas vapor escaping the can contacts a source of ignition 
such as a flame or spark.
  Since 1998 the CPSC has tallied at least 1,200 emergency room visits 
and 11 deaths due to gas can explosions.
  That is why I urge all Members to join me in voting for H.R. 806.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 806, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________