Shimkus discusses possible RFS action during Platts Energy Podium

By Platts | September 17, 2013

U.S. congressional action to reform the renewable fuel standard (RFS) would come by the end of this year, if it comes at all, said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., during a Platts Energy Podium event Tuesday.

Shimkus, the chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Energy and the Economy, said a decision is expected in coming months from the U.S. EPA on renewable fuel volumes for 2014. This will help determine whether a bill is drafted or not.

“By the end of this year, you’ll know whether we’re going to do something or not,” Shimkus told the Platts Energy Podium gathering of energy reporters. If the EPA releases more "realistic" biofuels blending requirements for 2014, reforms to the controversial law may not be needed at all, said Shimkus, one of at least six lawmakers close to the reform negotiations.

Shimkus said he has been disappointed with the heated rhetoric over the issue of renewable fuels, despite his July plea to oil companies and ethanol backers to seek common ground.

“I didn’t move the needle too far,” Shimkus said. He noted that the polarized stance of the two sides, fueled by “battle ads” launched since the July hearing, “does not make for good negotiations.”

Shimkus rejected the notion that his committee should adopt a pause, or freeze, in the RFS requirement that a growing amount of ethanol be blended each year into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. He said a pause would hurt the investments of billions of dollars that companies have made in producing ethanol and so-called “next-generation” renewable fuels.

“I think it sends terrible market signals,” he said.

A recording of the John Shimkus Platts Energy Podium session is available via podcast here.