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Brazil: Authorities may close Cargill's Amazon port for environmental reasons - company says it is taking steps to buy sustainable soy

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18 July 2006

Amazon Port Pits Farmers Vs. Rainforest [Brazil]

Author: Michael Astor, AP

When U.S. grain giant Cargill opened a $20 million port in...[Santarem]...it expected to cash in on the rising global demand for soybeans...Instead, the...company today is under fire from residents, environmentalists and federal prosecutors, who say the port is illegal and are suing to shut it down...Soy farming [is]...the worst destroyer of the rainforest..."All I can say is that Cargill did everything the state told us we needed to do to open up the port," said...the port's administrative manager. Prosecutors say Cargill failed to comply with...regulations by not conducting an environmental impact assessment for the port and by building it on top of sensitive a pre-Colombian archaeological site. Cargill did not respond to repeated requests by [AP] for comment on the charges. In February, Brazil's second highest court gave Cargill six months to carry out the environmental survey. The company...[is] appealing while the port's fate awaits the study's results...[prosecutor said] the port's very existence has sped deforestation in the area...The company also has tried to clean up its environmental image. Giovannini said for the next harvest the company could require soy farmers who sell to Cargill to present certificates that their soybeans were grown in accordance with...environmental laws...most of [Santarem's] 330,000 residents live in poverty. [also refers to Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, McDonalds]

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Author: David Shukman, BBC Mundo

Una negociación entre grupos ambientalistas y empresas alimenticias podría limitar las importaciones de soja...que hayan sido cultivadas en tierras deforestadas de la selva del Amazonas. Miembros de grupos de defensa del medio ambiente afirman que el cultivo de la soja es la principal causa de la destrucción de amplias áreas de la selva...Después de una serie de protestas, [Greenpeace] ha logrado obligar a un gran productor de soja a cambiar sus políticas. La empresa estadounidense Cargill se comprometió a que, desde el año próximo, sólo comprará soja de áreas que ya han sido taladas. La cadena de comida rápida McDonald's también ha expresado su intención de tomar una decisión similar.

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