The city of Ouro Preto (MG) filed a lawsuit in the United States, in its name and on behalf of six other municipalities in Minas Gerais. The targets are banks Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citibank and JP Morgan. They are identified as financiers of risky ventures by Vale, a mining company involved in the tragedies that occurred in Brumadinho (MG) on January 25, 2019, and in Mariana (MG) on November 5, 2015. A survey was attached that indicates for loans made since 2011, totaling US$17.2 billion.
The Mariana tragedy turns eight years old this Sunday (5). And, although the destruction began in the state of Minas Gerais, in Espírito Santo at least 11 cities, through which the Rio Doce passes – in many cases, it directly affects the region’s economy – were affected.
In a recent decision, the Federal Court suspended the inclusion of the coast of Espírito Santo in the areas affected by mining waste released into the Doce River after the collapse of the Fundão dam, in Mariana (MG). The judicial measure also determines that a new expert examination be carried out to prove the impact.
ES will not enter into an agreement that excludes the north coast of areas affected by the Mariana dam
The decision affects the cities of Serra, Fundão, São Mateus, Conceição da Barra, Aracruz and Sooretama. They were impacted along with the municipalities of Baixo Guandu, Colatina, Marilândia, Linhas and Anchieta – this is where Samarco is located in the state of Espírito Santo.
In the lawsuit filed by the Minas Gerais municipality of Ouro Preto, the city hall – which speaks on behalf of the neighboring Barão de Cocais, Itabira, Itabirito, Mariana, Nova Lima, and São Gonçalo do Rio Baixo – narrates the insecurity with which the communities live today. Under the constant blare of sirens warning of the risk of new collapses, which demonstrates the insecurity of dams.
The case began in September in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The action asks the court to take Brazilian legislation into account, more specifically Federal Law 6,938/1981, known as the National Environmental Policy Law. At the same time, it argues that New York is the appropriate forum to discuss the issue, considering that banks do not submit to Brazilian jurisdiction and that evidence of the loans is found in the United States metropolis, according to information from Agência Brasil.
Greatest tragedy in history
The collapse of the Fundão dam, in Mariana, was considered the biggest environmental disaster of all time. At least 19 people died, affecting 49 cities, the mouth of the Rio Doce and with mud reaching the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), more than 40 million cubic meters of waste were dumped into the Doce River and tributary rivers. The MPF also points out the devastation of 32 thousand kilometers, damaging marine and terrestrial fauna and flora.