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                                                        Calendar No. 19
                                                        
116th Congress   }                                             {  Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session     }                                             {  116-2

======================================================================



 
         ALASKA REMOTE GENERATOR RELIABILITY AND PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

               February 25, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Barrasso, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 163]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 163) to prevent catastrophic failure or 
shutdown of remote diesel power engines due to emission control 
devices, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                    GENERAL STATEMENT AND BACKGROUND

    Of the more than 200 remote Alaskan villages, a majority 
are powered either primarily by diesel generators or by back-up 
diesel generators where renewable energy is available. Because 
these generators are not linked to a major road or highway 
system, diesel generators in these remote villages rely on fuel 
that must be barged in at high cost--up to $10 per gallon in 
some areas. Many of these isolated communities are located in 
Arctic and Sub-Arctic climates. These diesel generators provide 
vital heat and light that is necessary for human health, 
safety, and basic necessities. During fall, winter, and spring, 
temperatures can fall below freezing and daylight is limited. 
Many villages rely on generators that are between 10 and 30 
years old and are looking to purchase new generators to improve 
efficiency and reduce the maintenance costs associated with 
worn out engines.
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized 
``that the circumstances in remote Alaska required special 
rules.''\1\ Under EPA's New Source Performance Standards for 
compression ignition internal combustion engines (CI ICE) 
(i.e., diesel generators), EPA gives special considerations for 
``remote areas of Alaska.''\2\ Under 40 CFR 60.4216, remote 
areas of Alaska can use stationary CI ICE that are certified to 
marine engine standards rather than land-based non-road 
engines. In addition, stationary CI ICE in remote areas of 
Alaska do not need to meet Tier 4 nitrogen oxide 
(NOX) emission standards that require an after-
treatment NOX pollution control device, in 
particular selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, 
because of the difficulties associated with using these devices 
in extreme cold and remote areas. Tier 4 particulate matter 
(PM) emission requirements are also not required for remote 
Alaskan stationary CI ICE that are older than model year 2014. 
However, all non-emergency stationary CI ICE in remote areas of 
Alaska that are model year 2014 or later must either be 
certified to meet Tier 4 PM emissions standards or must ``meet 
the applicable requirements for [particulate matter (PM)] in 
Sec. Sec. 60.4201 and 60.4204 or install a PM emission control 
device that achieves PM emission reductions of 85 percent, or 
60 percent for engines with a displacement of greater than or 
equal to 30 liters per cylinder, compared to engine-out 
emissions.'' This requirement in effect mandates the 
installation of after-treatment PM control devices such as 
Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) on model year 2014 and newer 
engines.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\80 Fed. Reg. 68808, 68811 (Nov. 6, 2015).
    \2\81 Fed. Reg. 44212, 44215 (July 7, 2016).
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    Based on recent information from EPA and Alaska state 
officials, there are credible reports that Tier 4 CI ICE 
emission control technologies for PM emissions--as well as Tier 
4 NOX emissions controls--are having difficulties 
working in remote areas of Alaska. Similar to SCR technology, 
the extreme weather and remoteness of some Alaskan villages do 
not allow DPFs to perform as intended. The few CI ICE in remote 
areas of Alaska that have DPFs have shown a decrease in 
reliability of these engines as well as their fuel efficiency, 
an increase in maintenance requirements and an increase in 
maintenance costs.
    The additional cost of maintaining a DPF can affect a 
remote area's economic and public health. If anything goes 
wrong with the DPF, the generator shuts down. Only a factory-
trained service technician with the proper codes can fix the 
problem. In remote Alaska, these technicians are at least one 
to two days of travel time away, which adds to delays and 
costs. Especially in the fall and winter, further repair delays 
are likely because weather or extreme cold can shut down 
airplane access for multiple days or weeks. If a failure in the 
powerhouse occurs during one of these times, the village could 
suffer significant damage to its infrastructure or 
circumstances that could lead to the potential loss of life.
    The marine industry was able to avoid the DPF restrictions 
under that industry's EPA standards specifically because DPF 
systems are expensive and unreliable. Generators in rural 
Alaska did not receive the same type of exemption despite 
requests.\3\ As a result, remote Alaskan villages that want to 
replace old CI ICE must find engines that are model year 2013 
or older to get around the Tier 4 PM requirement. Not 
surprisingly, villages are having a hard time finding these 
older engines.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Id. at 44217 (citing comments of the Alaska Energy Authority 
(Dec. 21, 2015), available at https://www.regulations.gov/
document?D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0866-0019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    S. 163 addresses these concerns and allows CI ICE in remote 
areas of Alaska to meet existing Tier 3 standards without the 
need to install additional PM control devices. Narrow in scope, 
S. 163 addresses only those diesel fuel generators located in 
remote Alaska to ensure that EPA standards for CI ICE in these 
areas do not decrease reliability, increase costs, or threaten 
people's health and welfare. The legislation, as amended, also 
requires EPA, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to 
provide Congress with policy options to help the people living 
in remote areas of Alaska have affordable and reliable energy 
while also addressing air emissions.

                     OBJECTIVES OF THE LEGISLATION

    Current Tier 4 PM emission control technologies have 
difficulty performing adequately in remote areas of Alaska. S. 
163 directs the EPA Administrator to revise 40 CFR 60.4216(c).

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the ``Alaska Remote Generator 
Reliability and Protection Act.''

Section 2. Revision of regulations required

    This section changes the standards under 40 CFR 60.4216(c) 
from Tier 4 PM standards to Tier 3 PM standards. The section 
also instructs the Environmental Protection Agency, in 
consultation with the Department of Energy, to submit a report 
assessing options for the Federal Government to meet the energy 
needs of remote areas in the state of Alaska in an affordable 
and reliable manner while addressing air emissions.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On January 16, 2019, Senator Sullivan introduced S. 163, 
the Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act, 
with Senator Murkowski as an original cosponsor. The bill was 
referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public 
Works.
    The text of S. 163 is identical to the text of S. 1934, 
Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act, which 
passed the Senate during the 115th Congress. Senator Sullivan 
introduced S. 1934 on October 5, 2017. Senator Murkowski was a 
cosponsor. The EPW Committee's Subcommittee on Clean Air and 
Nuclear Safety held a hearing on S. 1934 on November 14, 2017. 
The EPW Committee reported S. 1934, as amended, by voice vote 
on September 18, 2018. The Senate passed the reported 
legislation by unanimous consent on December 4, 2018.

                                HEARINGS

    A legislative hearing was not held on S. 163. As explained 
above, a legislative hearing was held on S. 1934 on November 
14, 2017 during the 115th Congress.

                             ROLLCALL VOTES

    On February 5, 2019, the Committee on Environment and 
Public Works met to consider S. 163. S. 163 was ordered 
favorably reported without amendment by voice vote. No roll 
call votes were taken.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes evaluation of 
the regulatory impact of the reported bill.
    The bill does not create any additional regulatory burdens, 
nor will it cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          MANDATES ASSESSMENT

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that S. 163 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.
    S. 163 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). The bill contains no 
new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.

                          COST OF LEGISLATION

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, February 12, 2019.
Hon. John Barrasso,
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 163, the Alaska 
Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Stephen 
Rabent, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.
    
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    S. 163 would require the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) to revise regulations for certain internal combustion 
engines used in remote areas of Alaska to allow those engines 
to emit higher levels of particulate matter compared to current 
standards. The bill also would require EPA to report to the 
Congress on options for the federal government to assist remote 
areas in Alaska with meeting their energy needs in an 
affordable and reliable manner.
    Using information from EPA about current activities related 
to emissions standards for those engines, CBO estimates that 
the costs of implementing the bill would be less than $500,000. 
That amount includes costs for personnel and contracts required 
to develop and issue a proposal, to receive and respond to 
public comments, to issue a final rule for the revision, and to 
produce the report required by the bill.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Stephen Rabent. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
requires the committee to publish changes in existing law made 
by the bill as reported. Passage of this bill will make no 
changes to existing law.