Cornyn steps up efforts on overhauling ethanol mandate

Source: By John Siciliano, Washington Examiner • Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018

Fuel industry officials and others were crowding around Sen. John Cornyn’s office Thursday to get the first glimpses of what is expected to be a major bill to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s ethanol mandate, John has learned.

Some proponents of reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard had hoped that Cornyn’s office would have a bill ready this week, while other lobbyists and former Senate aides said it’s coming soon, but not necessarily this week.

But there has been a significant uptick in the amount of activity in Cornyn’s office this week, said one official with a major oil refiner.

“Cornyn staff still working 18-hour days on drafting” the measure, said Stephen Brown, federal affairs vice president for the San Antonio oil refiner Andeavor, in an email to John.

Nevertheless, the briefings with industry and others that started Thursday on the bill are broad at this point.

The legislative text is requiring “a lot of back-and-forth” with the Senate legislative counsel’s office, “which is not surprising given the complexity of the issues being worked over,” said Brown, who has been in close consultation with aides for the Senate majority whip.

The meetings on the bill ramped up Thursday and run through next week. However, Cornyn’s office has been tight lipped about the deliberations.

Lobbyists following the bill’s development believe the legislation will include a phaseout of the RFS in four years, but that could change as the text is modified.