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Calendar No. 356
110th Congress Report
1st Session 110-158
ALTERNATIVE SULFUR DIOXIDE REMOVAL MEASUREMENT FOR COAL GASIFICATION
September 17, 2007.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 645]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 645) to amend the Energy Policy Act of
2005 to provide an alternate sulfur dioxide removal measurement
for certain coal gasification project goals, having considered
the same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and
recommends that the bill do pass.
The purpose of S. 645 is to amend the Energy Policy Act of
2005 to provide an alternative sulfur dioxide removal
measurement for certain coal gasification project goals.
Background and Need
The Clean Coal Power Initiative (``CCPI'') authorized in
section 404 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (``EPACT''),
Public Law 109-58, requires the Secretary of Energy to
establish goals and milestones for emissions from such projects
so that by year 2020 they will be able to remove, among other
criteria pollutant reductions, at least 99% of sulfur dioxide
from coal fired electricity generation. Thus, under current
law, projects seeking CCPI funding are reviewed based on their
ability to achieve 99% removal of sulfur dioxide regardless of
the original levels of sulfur in their coal feedstock. Because
western coals have significantly lower sulfur content than
other coals, it is prohibitively more expensive to remove 99%
of that sulfur than it is to do so for other coals that contain
more sulfur to begin with. This bill provides an alternative
goal based on emissions of sulfur dioxide per unit of energy to
account for this variation in sulfur content. This alternative
criterion for low sulfur coals will achieve an emission
standard that is no less than and, in some cases, greater than
that which is achieved with a 99% standard using other coals.
This alternative is also consistent with language found in
Internal Revenue Code section 48A(f)(1)(B).
S. 645 was introduced by Senator Thomas on February 15,
2007. During the 109th Congress, the Committee considered
similar legislation, S. 4076. The Subcommittee on Energy held a
hearing on S. 645 on May 22, 2007. At its business meeting on
July 25, 2007, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
ordered S. 645 to be favorably reported.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on July 25, 2007, by a voice vote of a quorum
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 645.
Section 1 amends the Clean Coal Power Initiative emissions
goals in Section 402 to add an alternative goal for emissions
of sulfur dioxide of .04 pounds per million Btu, based on a 30-
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
August 14, 2007.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 645, a bill to amend
the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide an alternate sulfur
dioxide removal measurement for certain coal gasification
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them.
The CBO staff contact is Megan Carroll.
Peter R. Orszag.
S. 645--A bill to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide an
alternate sulfur dioxide removal measurement for certain coal
gasification project goals
Through the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI), the
Department of Energy (DOE) provides financial support for
projects to develop and demonstrate the use of clean coal
technologies in facilities that generate electric power. The
Energy Policy Act of 2005 specifies eligibility criteria for
such projects, including requirements related to controlling
emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide. S. 645 would
amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to allow an alternative
measure of reductions in sulfur dioxide emissions. According to
DOE, the proposed alternative would be slightly less stringent
than the existing requirement.
CBO estimates that implementing S. 645 would have no
significant effect on the federal budget. Although the proposed
change could affect the types of technologies used in projects
that receive federal assistance through the CCPI, it would not
affect total federal spending for such projects, all of which
is subject to appropriation. Enacting S. 645 would not affect
direct spending or revenues.
S. 645 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll.
The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
Regulatory Impact Evaluation
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out S. 645. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 645, as ordered reported.
Statement of David R. Hill, General Counsel, Department of Energy
Chairman Dorgan, Senator Murkowski, and members of the
Committee, my name is David Hill, and I am the General Counsel
of the U.S. Department of Energy (Department or DOE). I want to
thank you for the opportunity to appear today and offer
preliminary comments on five energy-related bills that Congress
is considering. The bills before the Committee today each make
valuable contributions to our national discussion on energy
security, but in some cases could benefit from further review,
discussion and modification. The Department looks forward to
working with the Committee to resolve these issues. I would
like to discuss elements of each bill, as well as present some
of the DOE activities that are already underway in the areas
addressed by the bills.
S. 645 modifies the technical criteria in the Energy Policy
Act of 2005 for the Clean Coal Power Initiative. The Department
supports the proposed change because it would reduce a bias in
the current requirement that favors a particular coal type,
while still maintaining a stringent sulfur dioxide emission
standard for the R&D; program. The practical effect of the
change will be to allow slightly less strict SO2
requirements for power plants burning low sulfur coals.
Nevertheless, even with the proposed change, the SO2
emission requirement for these lower sulfur coal-fueled power
plants would remain as stringent, or more stringent, than the
allowable emissions rate for higher sulfur coals.
* * * * * * *
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
S. 645, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing law
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is
proposed is shown in roman):
ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005
(Public Law 109-58; Approved August 8, 2005)
AN ACT To ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America Congress assembled,
* * * * * * *
SEC. 402. PROJECT CRITERIA.
(a) In General.--To be eligible to receive assistance under
this subtitle, a project shall advance efficiency,
environmental performance, and cost competitiveness well beyond
the level of technologies that are in commercial service or
have been demonstrated on a scale that the Secretary determines
is sufficient to demonstrate that commercial service is viable
as of the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Technical Criteria for Clean Coal Power Initiative.--
(1) Gasification projects.--
* * * * * * *
(B) Technical milestones.--
* * * * * * *
(ii) 2020 goals.--The Secretary shall
establish the periodic milestones so as
to achieve by the year 2020 coal
gasification projects able--
[(I) to remove at least 99
percent of sulfur dioxide;]
(I)(aa) to remove at least 99
percent of sulfur dioxide; or
(bb) to emit not more than 0.04
pound SO2 per
million Btu, based on a 30-day
* * * * * * *