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                                                     Calendar No. 576
115th Congress        }                       {               Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session           }                       {               115-379

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



 
         ALASKA REMOTE GENERATOR RELIABILITY AND PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

               November 26, 2018.--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. 1934]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1934) 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 with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and recommends that the bill, as amended, 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).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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. 1934, as amended, 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. 1934, as amended, 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. 
1934 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

    As amended, 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 October 5, 2017, Senator Sullivan introduced S. 1934, 
the Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act, 
with Senator Murkowski as an original cosponsor. Senator Inhofe 
is also a cosponsor. The bill was referred to the Senate 
Committee on Environment and Public Works.

                                HEARINGS

    A legislative hearing was held on November 14, 2017 in the 
Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and 
Nuclear Safety.

                             ROLLCALL VOTES

    On September 18, 2018, the Committee on Environment and 
Public Works met to consider S. 1934. A substitute amendment 
offered by Senators Sullivan and Carper was ordered favorably 
reported by voice vote. No rollcall 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. 1934 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.
    S. 1934 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, October 3, 2018.
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. 1934, 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 Jon Sperl.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 1934--Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act

    S. 1934 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.
    Enacting S. 1934 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1934 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 1934 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. 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.

                                  [all]