Environment

Petrobras fines being used to set model for environmental compensation

Over BRL 100 million in compensation paid by Petrobras for a 2001 diesel leak has taken decades to reach its intended target, but environmental agencies hope latest deal will set an example

Petrobras refinery in Paraná state. Photo: Gel Lima/Código19/Folhapress
Petrobras refinery in Paraná state. Photo: Gel Lima/Código19/Folhapress

In February 2001, more than 50,000 liters of diesel leaked from a Petrobras pipeline and contaminated mangroves, river floodplains, and two bays in the Serra do Mar, the long ridge of mountains and escarpments that spread across a significant part of Brazil’s Southeast. The region is part of the Atlantic Forest, one of the country’s most threatened biomes.

The material released into the waters left thousands of fishermen out of work for months. On that same day, however, Petrobras announced a 466-percent year-on-year increase in profit.

Twenty-one years later, the fine paid by the state-controlled oil company as punishment for...

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