Paul Kiernan – The Wall Street Journal, 01/14/2016
Brazil’s Federal Police have accused seven people and three companies, including mining giant Vale SA and its joint-venture Samarco Mineração SA, of environmental crimes in response to a major dam collapse in November.
The move, which has no exact equivalent in the U.S. legal system, will trigger the beginning of a deeper investigation by police. It typically represents a step toward formal charges, which in Brazil can only be filed by prosecutors, often after police have presented their findings.
The accusations mark the latest response by Brazilian authorities to what some have called the country’s worst-ever environmental disaster. On Nov. 5, Samarco’s Fundão tailings dam suddenly collapsed, releasing a flood of sludge that buried rural villages, killed 19 people and polluted more than 400 miles of the Rio Doce basin.
Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 04/13/2015
The line of trucks and four-wheel-drive pickups threw up clouds of red dust as it snaked up the hill on the wide dirt road. From the top, Brazilian rain forest stretched out into the distance. Before it, a vast quadrangle was being carved out of the slope by an army of machines, a scar of red earth in the green hills.
S11D, as this project is unceremoniously known, is an open-cast iron ore mine being dug out of this corner of the Brazilian Amazon, in the state of Para. Brazil’s mining giant, Vale, says the mine was designed for minimum environmental impact and maximum profitability. It is to start operating next year and by 2018 will be producing nearly 100 million tons annually of some of the purest iron ore in the world — a lifeblood for Brazil’s pallid economy.
But environmentalists argue that S11D could destroy rare savannah ecosystems found in two lakes on top of rich iron ore deposits. Dozens of caves that potentially contained evidence of ancient Amazon habitations have been lost. This grandiose $17 billion project is emblematic of a very contemporary, Brazilian dilemma: Can the country develop its rich natural resources without causing irreparable damage to its environment and history?
Zachary Davies Boren – The Independent, 02/23/2015
Fabiola Gomes, Reuters, 06/06/2012
SAO PAULO, June 6 (Reuters) – Brazil’s JBS, the world’s largest meat company, said on Wednesday it would sue environmental organization Greenpeace for what it called false claims that could cause it to lose business and hurt its image.
In a report it released this week, Greenpeace accused the company of breaking an accord that JBS and other Brazilian meat packers signed in 2009 promising not to purchase cattle raised on deforested pastures. Greenpeace said JBS had bought cattle raised on Indian reserves and other restricted areas.
JBS said in a market filing on Wednesday that all the accusations Greenpeace had made against it in the report were false and “lead society to a false conclusion.” It said would take Greenpeace to court for material damages and for making accusations harmful to its image.
JBS, which did not say how much it would seek in compensation, said the report could cause it to lose existing contracts and future business.