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New Bill to Expand Promotion of Biofuels Is a Welcome Boost for U.S.-Brazil Relations According to Brazilian Sugarcane Industry

SAO PAULO, Brazil, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- A bill designed to strengthen energy cooperation in the Western Hemisphere, approved today by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a positive step to expands ongoing efforts by Brazil and the United States to promote the production and use of sustainable biofuels throughout Latin America, according to the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

"It shows a clear desire by the U.S. Congress for a positive and long-term partnership between the world's top two producers of ethanol, the United States and Brazil," said UNICA president and CEO Marcos Sawaya Jank, who earlier today met with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) to express appreciation for this visionary legislation. "Consumers in Brazil and the U.S. are already learning the benefits of ethanol. This legislation will help expand the reach of sustainable and renewable biofuels that increase energy security for consumers and raise incomes for agricultural communities worldwide."

Senate Bill 1007, sponsored by Indiana's senior Senator, expands on an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in March of 2007 by Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, and virtually guarantees its longevity. The title of the legislation has also been changed, from "United States-Brazil Latin America Energy Cooperation Pact" to "The Western Hemisphere Energy Compact" indicating a growing interest in deepening and broadening the regional cooperation in energy issues.

Senator Lugar describes it as a significant piece of legislation, that directs the Secretary of the State Department to work with Brazil and other governments to develop partnerships in the region, especially Brazil, and around the world to promote energy security through the accelerated development of sustainable biofuels production, research and infrastructure, and to reach out to U.S. neighbors on broader energy security needs.

"We have put this on the agenda because this is a time of transition in our government and we need to send the signal to the region that we remain committed to a closer and deeper relationship with the hemisphere, especially with Brazil," Lugar added, stressing that renewable energy offers the greatest hope to wed energy security needs with economic growth and environmental stewardship.

"Latin America's soil and climate are ideal for growing sugarcane and specialty energy crops for production of biofuels. The United States and Brazil are the region's biofuels leaders, but more countries in the region can and should get into the business of producing domestic biofuels to increase employment, boost rural incomes, improve trade balances, as well as gain protection from the whims of the international oil market whose gyrations have wiped out many nations' recent gains in poverty reduction," Lugar concluded.

A total of US$58 million have been earmarked for the renewed pact, which creates regional diplomatic and commercial groups to coordinate and support energy policy in the Western Hemisphere, with a focus on biofuels. Partnerships would include a Western Hemisphere Energy Cooperation Forum to meet every two years and a Western Hemisphere Energy Industry Group. Along with promoting accelerated development of sustainable biofuels and other renewable energy production, the bill helps establish voluntary carbon trading markets, leverage private investment in new energy, promote research and further integrate the Hemisphere's energy infrastructure.


Full text of Senate bill S.1007


The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country's South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country's sugarcane harvest and 60% of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics and specific research in support of Brazil's sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors. In 2007, Brazil produced an estimated 490 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 30.5 million tons of sugar and 22.3 billion liters of ethanol.

SOURCE UNICA - Brazil's Sugarcane Industry Association
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