RFA mourns the loss of Sen. Robert Dole, ethanol champion

By Renewable Fuels Association | December 06, 2021

Former Sen. Robert Dole, R-Kan., who passed away yesterday, will be remembered by the U.S. ethanol industry as a great patriot, war hero, national statesman, friend of farmers, and a founding champion of America’s renewable fuels industry, the Renewable Fuels Association noted Monday.

 “Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Senator Dole always put his country first and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all Americans,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “He was a champion for the underdog. His life experience as a wounded war hero from a rural community compelled him to strive relentlessly for veterans, for the disabled, and for farmers.” 

Cooper continued: “It is not an exaggeration to say that the ethanol industry we know today simply would not exist without Bob Dole. Growing up in the farming community of Russell, Kansas, and working at his father’s creamery, Dole understood the importance of value-added agriculture, and he worked to expand markets and grow value for farmers his entire career. He was one of the first elected officials in Congress to vocally champion ethanol as a value-added market opportunity for America’s farmers. As a member and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he worked to create and maintain tax incentives to help level the playing field for ethanol and give the fledgling industry a competitive chance. His efforts in the early years of the ethanol industry allowed the fuel to grow as an octane enhancer and gasoline pool extender.”

“Senator Dole also understood that democracy required bipartisanship to achieve common goals,” Cooper added. “He worked across the aisle in the 1990s with Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to push legislation that would help to create the ethanol industry we have today.  Their collaboration ultimately resulted in the successful passage several years later of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a groundbreaking policy that would transform the liquid fuels market by requiring the increased use of cleaner-burning, domestically produced renewable fuels like ethanol. Dole and Daschle would also go on to found the Bipartisan Policy Center, which focused on fostering bipartisanship and bridging political divides.”

The U.S. ethanol industry will miss Dole’s vision and leadership, but his legacy will live on with every bushel of grain delivered to a biofuel facility, every automobile powered by ethanol-blended fuel, and a grateful nation benefiting from the consumer savings, cleaner air, and security provided by domestically produced renewable fuels.