A group of Democrats in the Senate is calling on the US Department of Commerce to follow Europe’s example, forcing all smartphone makers to create devices that adhere to a universal charging standard.
In a letter from Thursday addressed to the Minister of Trade Gina Raimondo, sen. Ed Markie (D-MA) – with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – asked the department to develop a strategy that requires a common port for charging all mobile devices.
The letter comes a week after European Union lawmakers agreed on new legislation that forces all smartphones and tablets to be equipped with USB-C ports by the fall of 2024.
“The EU is acting wisely in the public interest by taking on powerful technology companies on this consumer and environmental issue,” the senators wrote. “The United States must do the same.
In the letter, senators say their own chargers, such as Apple’s Lightning ports, generate unnecessary amounts of e-waste and impose a financial burden on consumers who upgrade devices or own multiple devices from different manufacturers.
“Year after year, Americans are stockpiling our obsolete chargers as we give more money to technology companies for new ones,” Markie said in a statement. On the edge in Thursday. “This waste is driving consumers up the wall and pushing our planet deeper into a climate crisis. “I ask the Ministry of Trade to follow the example of the European Union and seek solutions so that we can save our money, our minds and our planet.”
Unlike EU law, senators do not want the Department of Commerce to codify USB-C as a universal charging standard. Rather, their demand for a “comprehensive strategy” is broader, leaving room for the department to develop its own standard. After the EU mandate, critics say the rule would stifle innovation and is preventing smartphone makers from improving standards for faster charging in the future.
Asked if senators expected repulsion from the technology industry, a Markey spokesman said On the edge“High technology is allergic to regulations and we can already see companies repelling EU action. Senator Marky believes that we must continue to oppose this industry to ensure that their interests do not come at the expense of the environment and consumer welfare.