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International Update Volume 46, Issue 2

BRAZILIAN EXECUTIVES INDICTED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES

Brazil

On January 13, 2016, Brazil’s police force charged the CEO of Samarco, Ricardo Vescovi De Aragao, with causing Brazil’s largest environmental disaster in violation of the nation's Environmental Crimes Law. On November 5, 2015, a Samarco dam burst, which caused an avalanche of 2.2 billion cubic feet of waste and mud. Both the Samarco and Vale mining companies were indicted, in addition to VogBR Recursos Hidricos e Geotecnica, the company responsible for declaring that the dam was stable earlier in 2015.

INDONESIA LOSES CASE AGAINST COMPANY ACCUSED OF BURNING, SEEKS TO APPEAL

Indonesia

Four months ago, Indonesia’s Supreme Court ordered a palm oil grower to pay $26 million for damages to the forest in Aceh, but last week, a different palm oil company was acquitted of a similar crime in a district court. PT Bumi Mekar Hijau was on trial for $574 million in fines for failing to prevent or intentionally lighting hundreds of fires across 20,000 hectares of land. The lawsuit is expected to reach the Supreme Court. Critics of the acquittal wanted to see more emphasis placed on the human aspect of the fires, which are suspected to have killed 19 people.

EU POSTPONES VOTE ON CAR POLLUTION LIMITS

EU

On December 14, 2016, the European Parliament delayed a vote on limits to car pollution. The proposal is supported by automakers whereas environmentalists are pushing for the enactment of tougher rules. Parliament members disagreed over whether to seek tougher pollution limits even if that would result in a delay in the vote. The limits, as currently set, would permit cars to continue emitting more than twice the official limits on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which can cause respiratory illness and premature death.