Alckmin defends oil exploration at the mouth of the Amazon – 05/26/2023 – Environment
Vice President Geraldo Alckmin (PSB) confided to allies that he defends oil exploration in the region of the mouth of the Amazon.
Although he has avoided taking an open position on the government’s internal dispute, Alckmin, who is also Minister of Development, Industry, Commerce and Services, has presented to people close to him an assessment that oil has great economic potential, mainly for the North region.
Alckmin’s position, however, does not mean he wants to gloss over environmental issues, according to reports. The vice president has been concerned with transmitting the message that exploration cannot disrespect the environment, and that it must be done in an appropriate manner.
According to allies, Alckmin believes that it is up to President Lula (PT) to arbitrate in the clash between ministers Alexandre Silveira (Mines and Energy) and Marina Silva (Environment). However, he wants the possible wealth generated in the region not to be neglected.
When contacted, the vice-presidency of the Republic and the MDIC (Ministry of Development, Industry, Commerce and Services) stated that “this is an issue that is being dealt with by the competent bodies”.
Alckmin is responsible for dialogue with the business community, in addition to being seen as a skilled politician in the government.
Ibama’s decision that denied environmental licensing for Petrobras to drill an oil well at the mouth of the Amazon was published last week, when Lula was away from Brazil, participating in a G7 meeting in Japan.
Last Friday (19), Marina and Silveira had separate meetings with Alckmin, who, on the day, was acting president. Officially, advisors to the ministers claim that the meetings were already scheduled in advance and that they were not to address the issue of the mouth of the Amazon.
In addition to Alckmin, Lula has heard reports from Minister Rui Costa (Casa Civil) – scheduled to assist in the search for a solution to the clash.
Costa met Marina, Silveira and the president of Ibama, Rodrigo Agostinho, on Tuesday (23), when the Ministry of the Environment reinforced the position that the decision was technical and needed to be obeyed —which means that the government must provide the AAAS (Environmental Assessment of the Sedimentary Area), a study that assesses not only the block to be drilled, but the entire region of it, as a condition to advance in licensing.
In practice, this extends the period to resolve the impasse, as the study can take years.
By denying Petrobras’ request about the mouth of the Amazon, Ibama stated that the plans presented by the company were insufficient to guarantee the safety of the project and that an Environmental Assessment of the Sedimentary Area —used for cases like this—was not presented.
The AAAS can demonstrate the possible broad regional impacts of the activity, not just restricted to the area in question —thus, across the entire basin of the mouth of the Amazon.
When he was still in Japan and had not delved into the case, Lula said he did not see, at least at that moment, a negative effect on the Amazon in oil exploration in the region.
“If exploring this oil is a problem for the Amazon, it will certainly not be explored, but I think it is difficult, because it is 530 kilometers away from the Amazon.” He added, however, that he would only decide on his return to Brazil.
As shown to SheetIbama calculated that, according to the environmental studies presented by Petrobras, if there was an oil leak at sea, the rescue team would take 43 hours to reach the site —while the residue would take just ten hours to reach international waters.
The institute’s refusal, however, generated a clash between government areas and complaints by politicians from Amapá —the state where the oil basin is located— and from the energy sector.
The idea now, according to government officials told the Sheetis that this comprehensive environmental assessment be carried out so that the effects of the Petrobras project are clear.
Petrobras intends to insist on oil exploration in block 59 of the Foz do Amazonas basin. On Thursday night (25), it resubmitted a request to drill a well at the site. The company will also present new proposals for environmental safety.
The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.