East Kansas Agri Energy, Dinneen honored at NEC

By Matt Thompson | February 13, 2019

At the final day of the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper honored a company and an individual for their dedication to the ethanol industry.

East Kansas Agri-Energy received the RFA’s 2019 Industry Award for its role in implementing new technologies, promoting E15 and advocating for the industry with lawmakers and policy makers.

Cooper said EKAE is the first ethanol plant in the world has a collocated facility that uses the corn oil extracted from the dry mill to produce renewable diesel. He also said the plant played a role in explaining to then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt the harm done to the industry from the small refinery waivers he approved.

“When … Pruitt came to the Midwest in an attempt to explain himself and make amends with ethanol producers and farmers, he got his first—and probably last—tour of an ethanol plant at East Kansas Agri-Energy,” Cooper said. “He met a firm and well-prepared group of ethanol industry advocates that refused to be intimidated by Pruitt and his entourage. … And I can tell you now, that as the EPA’s caravan left the plant, licking their wounds, an EPA staffer called one of our staffers at RFA to let us know that the message was delivered and was heard loud and clear. And about two weeks later, Scott Pruitt announced his resignation.”

EKAE was also instrumental in meeting with EPA to advocate for the RFS, and for reaching new markets by being featured in an episode of Discovery Channel’s “American Choppers.”

Cooper and the RFA also honored its past President and CEO Bob Dinneen, who the Wall Street Journal once named “The Reverend of Renewable Fuels.” Dinneen stepped away from his post as the RFA’s president and CEO in October 2018, taking a role as a strategic advisor, and allowing Cooper to take the reins.

Cooper said, “The ethanol industry has been incredibly fortunate to have you leading the charge for the past three decades, Bob. And we simply would not be where we are today without our efforts. I’m proud to call you a friend and a mentor.”