Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House without amendment (03/15/2016)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act or the SENSE Act

(Sec. 2) This bill modifies the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule as it applies to certain electric utility steam generating units (electric power plants) that convert coal refuse into energy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must maintain the existing limits for sulfur dioxide emissions from coal refuse utilities under the cap-and-trade system, instead of applying the more restrictive limits that are scheduled to go into effect in 2017. (Under the current system, a cap sets a limit on emissions. The cap is lowered over time to reduce the amount of pollutants released. Utilities may only emit as much carbon as permitted under their allowances, which may be traded with others.) Thus, EPA must allocate to coal refuse utilities in 2017 and subsequent years the same number of emissions allowances for sulfur dioxide that have been previously allocated to coal refuse utilities, instead of reducing allowances.

After January 1, 2017, a coal refuse utility may not trade any unused sulfur dioxide allowances. Those allowances may be saved by the coal refuse utilities for use in future compliance periods.

The EPA may not increase the total number of allowances for sulfur dioxide emissions from all sources that are allocated to each state.

The bill enumerates compliance options under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule for hazardous air pollutants from coal refuse utilities, easing emission limits for those pollutants from those utilities. The EPA must allow such utilities to meet compliance requirements by meeting the maximum achievable control technology standards for either hydrogen chloride or sulfur dioxide.