2010 Indiana General Assembly - Dead Bad Bills

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These are the bad bills that died in the Statehouse.

SB 69: Low carbon and non-carbon dioxide emitting plants

Authors: Sen. Boots (R), Sen. Stutzman (R)
Status: Died in the Senate Utilities and Technology Committee

Digest: Provides that: (1) low carbon dioxide emitting or noncarbon dioxide emitting energy production or generating facilities; and (2) purchases of energy produced by such facilities; qualify for the financial incentives available for clean energy projects. Provides that a combined heat and power facility qualifies as a renewable energy resource for purposes of the statute that provides financial incentives for clean energy projects. Provides that an eligible business may recover qualified utility system expenses, which include specified preconstruction costs, associated with a: (1) new energy production or generating facility; or (2) low carbon dioxide emitting or noncarbon dioxide emitting energy production or generating facility. Changes the term "clean coal and energy projects" to "clean energy projects" to allow the term to include low carbon dioxide emitting or noncarbon dioxide emitting energy production or generating facilities. Makes other technical changes.

Summary: Just like last year, low carbon and non-carbon is code for nuclear power. This bill is designed to extend construction work in progress (CWIP) to nuclear reactors. It also extends CWIP to any transmission lines or associated equipment. It goes a step further by adding "siting, design, licensing, and permitting costs, regardless of whether the facility for which such costs are incurred is ultimately constructed or placed in service." Wall Street will not finance new reactors therefore utilities cannot build them without CWIP. Ratepayers should not be the involuntary, captive financiers of these unnecessary power plants. To paraphrase Mark Cooper, CWIP assumes that ratepayers have nothing better to do with their money than to give interest free loans to utility companies.

Votes: None taken

 

SB 115: Eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipeline

Authors: Sen. Gard (R), Sen. Bray (R), Sen. Waterman (R),Sen. Hume (D)
Sponsors: Rep. Battles (D),Rep. Koch (R), Rep. Stillwell (R)
Status: Died in the House Commerce, Energy, Technology, & Utilities Committee

Digest: Permits an entity engaged in the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline to acquire real property by eminent domain.

Summary: The intent of SB115 is fairly obvious. It permits an entity engaged in the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline to acquire real property by eminent domain. That entity can be a person, a firm, a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation. The bill wrongly declares that "the transportation of carbon dioxide by pipeline in Indiana is declared to be a public use and service, in the public interest, and a benefit to the welfare of Indiana and the people of Indiana." This is one of several pieces of legislation that the industry needs to enable carbon capture and storage (CCS). This bill addresses property rights issues, but does not address financing, stewardship, or liability, so we are expecting several more bills relating to CCS will be introduced. We also object to the committee assignment of this bill. The CCS issue was vetted through the energy and utility committees last year and should not have been assigned to a committee unfamiliar with the issue. This is an obvious end around, piece meal approach and an attempt to keep us off guard.

On Tuesday (1/19/10), by a vote of 9-1, the Senate Civil Matters Committee sent SB115, eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipeline, to the Senate floor. The only nay vote came from Sen. Mike Delph (R, Carmel). The bill was explained and supported by both Denbury Resources and Leucadia Corporation. Denbury is a multi-billion dollar company whose primary business is enhanced oil recovery, or the use of CO2 to extract oil and gas from depleted reservoirs. Denbury has proposed to build a pipeline from Mississippi into SW Indiana to transport the CO2 from coal-fired power plants, most notably Duke's Edwardsport IGCC and the proposed Leucadia project, Indiana Gasification project in Rockport, IN. The bill was presented as necessary to build an 8-9 mile pipeline to connect the Rockport project. In their presentations however, they failed to point out that the Edwarpdsort IGCC is being built without the ability to capture CO2, and that despite 3 previous pieces of legislation and years of negotiations, Indiana Gasification remains nothing more than a fantasy based on a PowerPoint presentation.

CAC's testimony was met with challenges, mockery, and disrespect. Despite the fact that supporters spoke about the Rockport project and the greatness that is coal, objection was raised to the relevance of CAC's testimony addressing those same issues. Laughter and smirks were prevalent when the benefits of wind energy, solar energy, and efficiency were mentioned. What occurred is what we feared. By assigning this bill to the Civil Matters committee, a discussion was forced on energy policy in a committee that does not deal with the topic. Also, if this bill is in fact only to enable an 8-9 pipeline to Rockport, IN, then why does the bill grant any entity eminent domain anywhere in the State for the purposes of transporting CO2 for carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, or other matters? Sequestration was not discussed, nor was "other matters" defined. CAC would suggest this bill is about far more than an 8-9 mile pipeline.

The notion of giving privately held corporations eminent domain is reason enough to oppose this bill. But we believe this bill has moved us past a discussion about coal and coal plants, and into a larger discussion about the role of government. What we have here is a multi-billion dollar corporation with unfettered access, unlimited cash, and massive influence using the legislative process to mandate their agenda because the free market simply will not support their business plan. Not only has legislation passed guaranteeing them a revenue stream in the form of the captive ratepayers of Indiana, legislation has been railroaded through guaranteeing a marketplace, which is now the State of Indiana, better known as taxpayers. Now, in addition to ratepayers and taxpayers being used as involuntary financiers, authority has been granted for these private, un-regulated corporations to take our property, no questions asked.

Eminent Domain for Carbon Dioxide Pipeline, SB115, is almost officially dead. It has not been scheduled for a committee hearing yet and if the newly agreed upon deadlines between the House and Senate are honored, at the end of the day Monday, it will be dead. However, rules were meant to be broken, so we must maintain the calls and e-mails on this until the gavel falls. Even though Rep. Moses held firm and did not schedule the bill to be heard, since the bill passed the full Senate, the language is available for insertion during the conference committee process. So we will be paying attention closely during these last few weeks to make sure a last ditch attempt is not made to make this egregious bill a new State law.

  • 01-19-10: SB 115 passed out of the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters Committee, by a vote of 9-1.
  • 01-28-10: SB 115 passed out of the Senate by a vote of 36-12.

 

SB 211: Carbon dioxide storage and transportation

Authors: Sen. Gard (R)
Status: Died in the Senate Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee

Digest: Delineates the jurisdiction of the department of environmental management, the utility regulatory commission, and the department of natural resources with respect to various aspects of carbon dioxide transportation and storage.

Summary:CAC opposes this bill. First of all, the digest of this bill is unbelievably deceptive and disingenuous. This piece of legislation does a whole lot more than “delineate the jurisdiction” with respect to CO2 transportation and storage. After a little over 4 pages of definitions, clarifications, and identifications (which is indicative of the complexity of the issue), the remaining 2 ½ pages should strike fear in all of us who cherish our environment, our health, our property, and our wallets. What those pages attempt to do is:

  1. Remove the authority of the IURC to regulate rates charged by the operators of CO2 storage and transportation projects;
  2. Allow jurisdictional utilities the authority to recover, through a tracker, those rates that are un-regulated by those operators of CO2 storage and transportation projects;
  3. Mandate the DNR to issue a permit for CO2 storage and transportation based on criteria that cannot be measured or verified;
  4. Remove the customary bond that is required for oil and gas wells;
  5. Remove the statutory spacing requirements for oil and gas wells; i.e. removing minimum size requirements and distance between wells and adjacent property owners “regardless of depth, well spacing, production of hydrocarbons, or any other factor.”;
  6. Supersede any previous law and override the authority of any other governmental agency or political subdivision relative to regulating the storage or transportation of CO2, or the withdrawal or production of CO2 from a storage facility;
  7. And finally, proclaim that “CO2 is not considered a pollutant, a nuisance, a hazardous waste, or a deleterious substance.”

Votes: None taken

 

HB 1081: Various Utility Matters

Authors: Rep. Grubb (D), Rep. Koch (R)
Status:
Died in the House Commerce, Energy, Technology and Utilities Committee

Digest: Requires the utility regulatory commission (IURC) to consider in the rate base of a public utility that complies with certain renewable energy standards (RES) one-half of any capital expenditures made by the public utility to extend gas or electric service to a customer that produces biofuels. Requires the IURC to provide certain financial incentives for implementing electric line facilities projects to electricity suppliers that comply with a certain RES. Requires electricity suppliers to comply with an RES by specified dates. Provides that an electricity supplier that does not comply with a higher RES is not eligible for certain financial incentives related to renewable energy development. Requires the IURC to encourage the use of American made products in certain utility programs.

Summary: CAC opposes this bill. First, it is not the obligation of a utility ratepayer to pay for utility infrastructure for a bio-fuels project. Bio-fuel plants provide no benefit or service to a utility ratepayer. Ratepayers pay for utility service. The ratebase should not be used as an economic development tool. Second, HB 1081 is loaded with trackers for transmission, generation, distribution and other things that utilities can plan for, and more importantly, are the cost of doing business. In exchange for a monopoly service territory and a captive ratebase, investor owned utilities are required by law to deliver reliable service. They should NOT receive extra incentives to provide what they are mandated to provide. Third, coal and tires are not a renewable energy resource. Fourth, the targets set in the RES are far too low. Most of the utilities are on pace to meet or exceed those targets right now.

Last, purchasing out of state Renewable Energy Credits (RECS), but not the associated power, should not qualify to satisfy an RES. RECS represent the environmental attributes of the generated power, but not the power itself. Again, ratepayers pay for the delivery of electricity. Essentially this bill allows the utilities to purchase very cheap RECS, not power, from anywhere in MISO or PJM and use those to fulfill the schedule. They can then charge captive ratepayers for those RECS after adding their expected rate of return; without any direct benefit to ratepayers or the public. No economic development, no environmental benefit, no improvement in public health, and worse of all, no electricity which is what ratepayers pay for. While other States, and possibly even other countries, see economic development and improved environmental quality and public health as a result of renewable energy, Hoosier ratepayers are stuck with higher bills and stuck paying the price for virtually all of Indiana's electricity coming from dirty coal.

Votes: None taken

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