Brazil Alleges Environmental Crimes in Response to Fundão Dam Collapse

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.

Read more…

Toxic Gas Leaks From Tan in Warehouse in Brazil

AP, 01/14/2015

Toxic gas Thursday leaked from tanks in a cargo warehouse in the Brazilian coastal city of Guaruja sending some 40 people to hospitals.

The Guaruja fire department said rainwater seeped into the container where the tanks containing sodium chloride isocyanate were stored, causing a chemical reaction that sent a large white cloud into the sky.

Guaruja Mayor Maria de Antonieta de Brito asked people to stay home because the gas can cause skin irritation, burning sensations, fainting spells and breathing problems.

Read more…