Obama’s EPA has wormed their way into the most popular sport in America.
However, they are hardly driving in the pole position. Think peanut vendor.
President Obama’s eco-friendly EPA inked a green partnership deal with high-octane NASCAR Monday to promote recycling and environmentally-friendly products to the sport’s millions of fans.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, NASCAR will encourage fans to buy “sustainable concessions” at races, expand the use of “safer chemical products,” conserve water, reduce waste, promote recycling, push products approved by the EPA that have a small enviro footprint and encourage suppliers to get an “E3 tuneup” aimed at promoting sustainable manufacturing.
Missing: any talk of greening races or race cars that consume about two million gallons of gas a year and average five miles per gallon.
“Yes, the focus is on suppliers and programs, not green cars,” said an EPA spokesman.
Instead, it’s a first step to get fans and suppliers to think green while favorites like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart lay down some rubber.
“Because NASCAR is followed by millions of passionate fans and many businesses, it can be a powerful platform to raise environmental awareness, drive the adoption of safer products by more Americans, and support the growing green economy,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.The agreement “is a great example of NASCAR’s commitment to green innovation and our role as a leader in sustainability,” said Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR.
Probably the furthest sport from the green movement, NASCAR for the past four years has nonetheless pushed an environmentally-friendly agenda in unusual ways. They even have a manager of “green innovation,” Michael Lynch.
In a white paper issued last month, NASCAR reports that they will plant 10 trees every time the green flag is raised, which they claim will capture “100 percent of the emissions produced” in races. They also have largest recycling program in sports and last year starting using E15 fuel.
“This partnership will provide new resources that will allow our industry to create innovative environmental education and awareness platforms while continuing to build on our strong momentum in reducing the environmental impact of our sport,” said NASCAR’s Lynch.
On September 13, 2011, the New York Times asked the question
Is green Nascar an oxymoron? After all, the sport is all about watching gas guzzlers drive at high speeds in circles for hours. Until 2007, race cars used leaded fuel. Tens of thousands of fans still drive to races in recreational vehicles and other gas hogs.
About 225,000 gallons of fluids like used fuels are expected to be recycled at Nascar tracks this year.
But more than any other American sport, Nascar is also a for-profit business, and like many companies these days, it is focused on cutting costs by recycling, conserving and generating its own energy. While the core of the sport remains unchanged, Nascar, its teams, track operators and sponsors are employing an ambitious set of green initiatives that includes collecting used fuel, planting trees to offset carbon emissions, and deploying sheep to keep the infield grass short.
Going green not only saves money that can be spent on drivers and cars, but it has also created new revenue by attracting sponsors to Nascar that want to trumpet their eco-friendliness to the millions of fans who watch races on television and at the track.
Of course, these efforts will not alter the essence of a sport that celebrates fast cars that burn copious amounts of gasoline, a fact that has led many critics to accuse Nascar of greenwashing, or claiming unfairly to be environmentally friendly. But many who work in Nascar say that reducing and recycling are imperative precisely because so much waste is produced, and if money can be saved in the process, all the better.
“The incongruity is part of what makes going green in this sport so impactful,” said Michael Lynch, Nascar’s director of green innovation. “There’s a bias that the sport is not green and therefore the fans aren’t green.”
In a press release dated November 18, 2008 [Shortly after Obama and his EPA started making life miserable for American Businesses], NASCAR announced
As NASCAR develops an industry-wide initiative to address the environment, the sanctioning body has taken an even bigger step in hiring Dr. Mike Lynch to head up a new Green initiative.
“Mike will be developing and coordinating an industry strategy to ensure we are embracing green as an opportunity for all of us,” said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. “He’ll be working with teams, tracks, and our partners to develop and environmental plan that’s right for the sport and all its partners, one that can include and mobilize our fan base in this important issue.”
I believe , as the old story relates, that this is Nascar’s attempt to ensure that the tiger would eat them last.
If they replaced Nascars with Chevy Volts, the Daytona 500 would last a month.