Bolsonaro: Oil spill may have been criminal

The president spoke after meeting with the environment minister

Published in 08/10/2019 - 15:03 By Andreia Verdélio - Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro said today (Oct 8) that the oil reaching the coast of Northeast Brazil since last month may have been “criminally” spilled. “It’s a volume that hasn’t been constant. If a ship had sunk, oil would still be coming out. It seems like something criminally discharged there,” he said while leaving the Alvorada presidential residence after meeting with Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.

The spills have reached the coast of all Northeastern states and it continues to move along the Brazilian coast. The oil is crude, meaning it does not stem from by-products, like gasoline. The substance, Bolsonaro argued “is a little more dense” than seawater, which is why it stays submerged.

Minister Ricardo Salles also explained the movement of oil has been between sea and coast in both directions. “We must act quickly to remove what’s in the soil,” the minister said. Over 100 tons of oil have been collected, Salles reported.

Yesterday (7), after an emergency meeting on the topic at the Defense Ministry, President Bolsonaro noted that this oil is not produced or traded in Brazil, and that there are suspicions as to where it might have originated. Today, when asked again, he repeated this is classified information. “I can’t accuse and run the risk of being wrong. I don’t want to start trouble with other countries,” he said.

An inquiry was opened by the Federal Police last week to ascertain the origins of the substance.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Narjara Carvalho / Nira Foster

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