O P E N I N G†† S T A T E M E N T
†††††††††† Senator George Voinovich
††††††††† Ranking Member
† Senate Clean Air Subcommittee
††††† Hearing on Mercury and CO2 Technologies
††††††††† Tuesday January 29, 2002
Mr. Chairman (Lieberman), thank you for holding this hearing today on the available technologies for controlling CO2 and mercury.† I requested this hearing last year when the Committee first began holding hearings on S.556, the Jeffords/Lieberman 4-Pollutant Bill, and I am pleased that you have chosen this topic for your first Hearing as Chairman of this Subcommittee.
It is my understanding that the Chairman of the Full Committee, Senator Jeffords, has announced that he intends to markup his legislation on February 12th.† While I believe it is important to move forward if we hope to get a Bill this year, I also believe it is important that we cover the necessary issues and understand what the impact of the Bill will be on the environment, our energy supply, and our nationís economy.† So far, as a Committee and as a Subcommittee, we have not begun to answer any of these questions.
We are told that the Chairmanís Bill, as drafted, is not supported by a single utility in this country.† We know that the National Governorís Association has endorsed a 3-Pollutant strategy, not the 4-Pollutant strategy found in the Chairmanís Bill.† And, we also know that the Chairmanís Bill will mean the end of coal as a viable fuel source.
What we donít know, is what the impact of this Bill will have on our energy supply or what the impact will be for our nationís manufacturing base.† The Chairmanís Bill will cause massive fuel switching to natural gas, which is an important raw material for our nationís chemical and plastic industry, for the fertilizer for our farmers, and for the food preparation and service industry.† We also donít know what the impact will be on our nationís public power sector or the Coops.† All of these issues need to be addressed by this Subcommittee or the Full Committee before we move forward with the legislation.
The fact of the matter is, if we want a Bill with a chance of passing then we need to sit down together, on both sides of the aisle, and work through these issues.†† Mr. Chairman, I want to work together to pass meaningful legislation which will make significant emission reductions and which will secure our safe, efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy supply for the American consumer.
Todayís hearing is an important first step.† As a Committee and as a country, we are all familiar with the available control technologies for reducing NOx and SO2.† Although it is important to note that some of these technologies are still in their infancy, such as SCR units, and we need to monitor closely the problems some utilities are having as they install the devices.
What is less well known, are the available technologies for reducing mercury and CO2.
According to the EPA, current technologies can reduce mercury anywhere from 40% to 90%, depending upon the type of coal burned.† In addition, some of the test cases seem to show that it is easier to reduce mercury levels when the concentration of mercury in the coal is very high.† It is much harder to obtain the same mercury reduction percentage from coal containing lower amounts of mercury.† Therefore, it could be difficult to reduce mercury to the levels required under the Jeffordsí Bill if you start with relatively clean coal.
It is also my understanding that some of the state-of-the-art facilities around the country have had a difficult time reducing the mercury.† For example, I have a letter from Kansas City Power and Light, which I would like to introduce into the record, and I would like to read a brief passage,
ďKansas City Power and Light just rebuilt a 550 megawatt unit, our Hawthorn 5 facility, using a state-of-the-art combination of SCR, dry scrubber and fabric filter and burning low sulfur subbituminous coal.† This combination of equipment and fuel, making Hawthorn 5 the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the country, may be able to achieve a 45 percent level of mercury reduction, based on currently available information.Ē
We clearly need to be careful about requiring more than co-benefits for mercury reductions.
As far as CO2 is concerned, there are some control technologies for coal that allow for the capture or sequestration of CO2, such as the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle or IGCC and some other technologies.† I am glad that both GE, one of the producers of the technology and Global Energy, a Cincinnati based company are here today to testify.
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that while the technology is old, its application to the energy industry and its ability to capture carbon are relatively new.† In addition, itís my understanding that this technology can be expensive.† It is not simply adding a new component to an existing unit, such as a scrubber, but basically building a new plant from the ground up.† I would like to hear specifically from the witnesses on this point.
Unfortunately we are not the only ones new to this technology.† I understand that the State of Florida is considering requiring the DOE IGCC pilot facility in Tampa to either add a scrubber to the facility, which creates significant technical problems, or burn a combination of coal and biomass, which defeats the purpose of clean coal technology.† If this Committee is going to encourage this technology then we must first understand how the States will regulate them.
In addition, according to Tampa Electric,
ďAlthough theories exist on methods to control mercury and carbon dioxide from IGCC facilities, no technology exists that could be implemented today.† The projects remain in the development phase and have not yet been demonstrated as commercially viable.Ē
And I would like to introduce a letter into the record from Tampa Electric which goes into more detail.
I look forward to the testimony of all of the witnesses and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on a bipartisan and multi-regional approach to this issue.† Thank you.