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IRL thumbs nose at USA ethanol producers UPDATE #5 Indiana corn farmers are deeply disappointed that the Indy Racing League (IRL), headquartered in Indianapolis, has decided to promote foreign-made ethanol from Brazil.

IRL officials are expected to sign a major contract with the Brazilian government to use the race car series to promote the country’s ethanol starting with the 2009 season.

This move by the IRL - which for the last three years has promoted itself as the only major racing series to use American-made ethanol - comes as American farmers and the U.S. ethanol industry are struggling with lower margins and a credit crunch.

“It is unfortunate that the IRL has chosen to promote imported ethanol at a time when we, as a country, are working hard to lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy and have an industry that has the capacity to meet all U.S. ethanol needs,” said Mike Shuter, president of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC). “The U.S. ethanol industry and U.S. corn farmers have been strong supporters of the IRL - not only promoting the series as it moved towards ethanol but also pumping funds into it.”

“While the IRL maintains that U.S. ethanol will be used in 2009, we seriously doubt that the Brazilian government would be committing millions of dollars to the series unless the promotion of Brazilian ethanol was a major component of the sponsorship,” added Shuter.

“It’s very frustrating that the IRL made this decision without giving U.S. corn growers any prior notice of their plans,” said ICMC farmer-director Mike Nichols who also sits on the National Corn Growers Association’s ethanol committee. “It’s hard to imagine that the Indianapolis 500 will be promoting an imported fuel next year and possibly running on Brazilian ethanol in future years.”

Shuter added that the ICMC, which is the state’s corn checkoff organization, will continue working hard to promote domestically-made corn ethanol which supports the creation of jobs and boosts local economies.

“We encourage the citizens of Indiana to make your opinion known to the IRL if you feel this decision was a mistake and not in the best interest of our country, Indiana farmers, and the local economies that benefit from the growing ethanol industry in our state,” said Shuter.

The IRL can be reached by phone at 317-492-6526 or by e-mail at www.indycar.com/contact

Source: Indiana Corn Marketing Council

11/26/08 Statement from Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, regarding the Indy Racing League and ethanol

“The IndyCar Series is proud to be fueled by ethanol, a renewable energy fuel. For the last three years, ethanol has been the official fuel as a result of a sponsorship agreement with the ethanol producers and EPIC, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. The ethanol producers recently notified the IndyCar Series that it would not be renewing the agreement for 2009 and beyond and EPIC is ceasing operation. No one from any other part of the American-based ethanol community stepped forward with a substantial proposal. Soon after, the IndyCar Series and APEX-Brasil reached a preliminary agreement. As part of that agreement, we plan on starting our 2009 season with American-produced ethanol. Opportunities still exist for American ethanol companies and organizations to continue involvement in the IndyCar Series. The IndyCar Series is pleased to continue to be the only major American racing series fueled by 100 percent fuel grade ethanol. APEX will use the IndyCar platform to promote a variety of Brazilian products, services and opportunities, including ethanol. We look forward to working with American producers and Brazilian producers of ethanol to promote ethanol as a renewable energy source and part of the solution to lessen the United States' reliance on Middle Eastern oil.”

11/26/08 American Future Fund (AFF) today launched "Race," a radio ad which urges Hoosiers to call the Indy Racing League (IRL) and tell them to continue using American ethanol in its race cars.

The ad can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/americanfuturefund.

In a multi-year deal announced on Nov. 18, the IRL named APEX-Brasil as the official ethanol supplier for the IndyCar Series. As a result, the Indy 500, an American institution, could be powered with foreign fuel.

"It's amazing that amid all the progress we have made toward energy independence, the IRL decides to set us back," said AFF Communications Director Tim Albrecht. "It's mind-boggling as to why the league would take this action in an economic downturn. This is a slap in the face to American farmers and workers."

Currently, there are more than 180 ethanol producers in the United States. The IRL's decision blocks them from pumping an American-made product into their cars, and opts for foreign competitors to control a monopoly on the market.

American Future Fund has long called for measures that lead the United States to energy independence with its "America First Energy Agenda." Found http://energy.americanfuturefund.com, the agenda strongly supports the use of homegrown renewable fuels.

"Our hope is that local citizens will stick up for what's right, and demand the IRL rescind its deal with Brazil," continued Albrecht. "This is a matter of energy independence and keeping our jobs here at home. The IRL may turn its back on the people of Indiana and the Midwest, but AFF will steadfastly stand with America's energy producers."

The script of the ad is as follows:
    It's the greatest race in sports.
    The Indy 500.
    There's nothing more American ... a race powered by American ethanol.
    But now the great race could be powered by foreign fuel?
    The Indy Racing League just made a deal with a Brazilian ethanol producer, making it the official ethanol supplier for the Indy Car Series.
    Unbelievably, the Brickyard will be fueled by foreign energy.
    Indy cars will no longer be powered by corn grown in Indiana and throughout the Midwest.
    Indiana workers and farmers are fighting to stay afloat during economic crisis.
    Renewable energy jobs are critical to our local economies. And ethanol produced here helps make America more energy independent.
    But the IRL is turning its back on Indiana farmers and workers -- and choosing foreign energy over clean, renewable, homegrown fuels.
    Call the IRL: 317-492-6526. Tell it to stick with American ethanol.
    Paid for by American Future Fund

11/17/08 Brazilian Ethanol uses sugar cane to make it. The sugar cane process is quite dirty we are told, and spews a lot of CO2 into the air in the process. They don’t have the technology in place to reduce that either.  Also, where do you think the land comes from to grow the sugar cane? They clear-cut rainforest. Yeah...that's a good way to go. Basically they end up effectively doubling their CO2 emission because they are cutting down forest that breathes CO2.

11/17/08 A decision by Brazil's trade promotion agency, APEX-Brazil, to sponsor the top ethanol-powered auto racing category, the Indy Racing League (IRL), contributes to consolidate ethanol as a global commodity and is in the spirit of a Memorandum of Understanding on biofuels signed between the governments of Brazil and the United States in 2007.

According to the president of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Marcos Sawaya Jank, the deal strengthens a natural partnership between Brazil and the United States, the world's top producers and consumers of ethanol. Together, the two countries account for more than 75% of global ethanol production. "This will help ethanol to attain global energy commodity status as well as fulfill its vital objectives: to help provide energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," he added.

A letter of intention was signed today between APEX-Brazil and the IRL on the opening day of the First International Brazil-Biofuels Exhibition held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Sao Paulo. UNICA was notified in late October that negotiations between APEX-Brazil and the IRL were underway, and that the overall objective for APEX-Brazil is to utilize the Indy Car racing season to promote a variety of Brazilian products in the three countries where the league holds its races: the United States, Canada and Japan. zzzz

APEX-Brazil has requested that UNICA consult its 116 member companies to identify those interested in supplying their own ethanol, or purchasing ethanol from feedstocks other than sugarcane, to fuel the Indy races. Regardless of the feedstock used in its production -- corn, sugarcane, or various cellulosic materials in the future -- the final molecular composition is the same. The end result is a clean, renewable biofuel that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and combats one of the major causes of climate change. In times of widespread energy, financial and environmental dilemmas, UNICA believes the use by the IRL of ethanol sourced from different agro feedstocks symbolizes the dream of greater energy integration involving countries throughout the Americas, an idea with the potential to spread to the entire planet.

"The involvement of APEX-Brazil is a natural next step, since several Brazilian pilots already compete in the IRL. We're anxious to contribute so that Indy continues to showcase all of the benefits of ethanol use instead of fossil fuels. This involves teamwork, and both the United States and Brazil, as major producers and users of ethanol, have the duty to remain ahead of the pack in the global race for alternative energy sources," concluded Jank.

11/17/08 The Indy Racing League will use Brazilian ethanol in the 2009 season.

IRL President Terry Angstadt signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian agency promoting biofuels on Monday, securing a supply of the alternative, agriculture-based fuel for all 23 races next year.

The announcement was made by Brazilian Presidential chief of staff Dilma Rousseff at the start of a five-day international conference on biofuels in Brazil.

The IRL has been racing with 100 percent ethanol fuel since 2007.

With the deal, Brazilian producers will supply part of the nearly 454,200 liters of ethanol used in the IRL season. The exact amount was not specified.

In exchange, Brazilian ethanol and other products will be promoted during the races.

"The (deal) is part of the strategy to promote the Brazilian biofuel as a clean and sustainable energy," said Alessandro Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency.

Ethanol burns cleaner and produces better mileage, even though it results in less horsepower in the IRL cars.

Brazil is the second largest ethanol producer in the world after the United States, and is the largest exporter of the fuel.

Sugarcane-based ethanol is cheaper to produce than the corn-based ethanol made in the United States. NineMSN.au

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