GENET archive


BUSINESS: Brazil shuts down Cargill grain port on Amazon River

                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Brazil shuts down Cargill grain port on Amazon River, demands
        environmental assessment
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune, France
AUTHOR: The Associated Press
DATE:   24.03.2007

Brazil shuts down Cargill grain port on Amazon River, demands
environmental assessment

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Federal police and environmental agents on
Saturday shut down a port that U.S. grain giant Cargill Inc. had opened
on the Amazon River, saying the company had failed to provide an
environmental impact statement required by law.

Authorities closed Cargill's grain terminal in Santarem, a sleepy city
of 250,000 residents 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) northwest of Rio de
Janeiro, following late Friday's ruling by Judge Souza Prudente,
according to police and the Agencia Estado news service.

"It was peaceful," federal police agent Cesar Dessimoni said of the
shutdown. "They can appeal the ruling, but no one resisted."

Dessimoni said Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Cargill had prepared an
environmental assessment that did not meet Brazilian federal standards.
"They'll have to do it correctly, as the law demands," he said by
telephone from Santarem.

Cargill, which has operated in Brazil since 1965, said Saturday that it
plans to appeal the ruling and that it had submitted an environmental
impact statement that was accepted by the Amazon state of Para, where
Santarem is located.

"We find ourselves caught in a jurisdictional dispute between the state
and federal government about which regulations have precedence," Cargill
spokeswoman Lori Johnson said. "When we built the facility the permits
were issued by the state. ... The permitting agency was the port and the
state of Para. We did an environmental assessment and all of the
assessments required by the permitting authorities.

"Since that time the federal prosecutor has said we should have done
another kind of environmental assessment and that is the issue before
the courts," she added.

Johnson said there were no ships being loaded or waiting to load when
the port was closed.

Santarem public prosecutor Felipe Fritz Braga told Agencia Estado that
the court's ruling was "a historical decision and it changes the pattern
of lack of governance in the region."

Cargill opened the US$20 million (?15 million) port in Santarem three
years ago to cash in on the rising global demand for soybeans, which had
become Brazil's richest agricultural export. Officials considered paving
a road from the central state of Mato Grosso -- Brazil's biggest soy
producer -- to Santarem. Johnson said Cargill has not taken a position on
paving the road.

But the agribusiness giant became a target for residents, activists and
federal prosecutors who called the port illegal and tried to shut it down.

Today the road to Mato Grosso state is still unpaved, and Santarem
handles only about 3 percent of the 7 million tons of soybeans grown
there each year_ far below the 2 to 3 million tons Cargill expected to
ship each year. Nearly all the rest is shipped from Atlantic ports in
southeastern Brazil.

Environmental group Greenpeace, which led protests that shut down the
port for three and a half hours last May, praised Saturday's closure.

"This is an important day for the Amazon rainforest and for its people,"
Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator in Brazil, said in
a statement. "A big step forward has been taken in enforcing the
responsible use of natural resources and bringing greater governance in
the Amazon."

Soy farming has contributed to the destruction of the Amazon, which lost
6,950 square miles (18,000 square kilometers) of rain forest between
2003 and 2004. Some 4,600 square miles (11,900 square kilometers) of
soybeans were planted during that time, making Brazil the world's No. 2
producer after the United States.

The growing popularity of biodiesel as an alternative to traditional
diesel fuel has made the demand for soy even greater.

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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Cargill's Amazon port facility shut down
SOURCE: Greenpeace USA, USA
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   24.03.2007

Cargill's Amazon port facility shut down
Brazilian government orders closing of soy processing plant pending
impact review

SANTAREM, Brazil -- A large soy processing and shipping facility in the
heart of the Amazon, owned by agribusiness giant Cargill, was closed
today by the Brazilian government. The facility has been at the center
of controversy following Greenpeace investigations into the huge amounts
of Amazon rainforest being destroyed for soy cultivation, and after a
lengthy legal battle in Brazil that has lasted seven years. Most of the
soy processed and shipped from Cargill's Santarem facility is shipped to
Europe, where it is used for cheap feed for chicken which is then sold
in fast food and supermarkets there.

The shutdown is a result of a request by the Federal Ministry of Public
Prosecution (MPF) to the Brazilian Environmental agency (IBAMA), to
"inspect and immediately stop the operations of Cargill port as well as
condemn the North American multinational for illegal operation." The
Regional Federal Court (TRF, in Portuguese), through Federal Judge Souza
Prudente ordered the complete fulfillment of a decision made in 2000,
which suspended all permits issued for Cargill port in Santarem, which
does not comply with the Brazilian laws which demand an Environmental
Impacts Assessment (EIA) for such facilities.

The suspension of Cargill port activities in Santarém is the culmination
of many years of demands by local communities and those who oppose the
expansion of soy cultivation in the Amazon rainforest. Soy and other
products from the agribusiness are key drivers for deforestation,
threatening huge loss of biodiversity and contributing to global
warming. According to the Federal Prosecutor in Santarém, Felipe Friz
Braga, "this is a historical decision and it changes the pattern of lack
of governance in the region."

"This is an important day for the Amazon rainforest and for its people.
Thanks to the constant efforts of the Federal Ministry of Public
Prosecution in Pará State, a big step forward has been taken in
enforcing the responsible use of natural resources and bringing greater
governance in the Amazon," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign
Coordinator in Brazil. "We trust that Cargill will respect this decision
and conduct a broad environmental impact assessment, which will result
in concrete measures to minimize the impacts of its port and soy
expansion in the region. In that way, the company will also confirm its
commitment to the moratorium on further deforestation for soy planting,
announced in Brazil last year," He continued.

Ongoing Greenpeace research has revealed the impacts of soy cultivation
on the world's largest tropical rainforest, and in May 2006, the
Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise blocked the port while activists
protested at the facility. The legal battle over the Santarem facility
has been raging since 2000. Cargill has now lost all appeals against the
injunction, which was judged in February 2006. The Federal Ministry of
Public Prosecution was notified in January 2007 and in turn requested
that IBAMA (on February 26) inspect the Santarem facility. In a last
attempt to delay action, Cargill presented a judicial injunction on
March 7 to hinder the Ministry of Public Prosecution from acting or
issuing orders for the closure of the port. The company also attempted
to block IBAMA inspection and the consequent embargo of the port.
However, the Federal Judge in Santarem Francisco de Assis Garcês Castro
Junior denied the company's request a week later.

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