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Brazil minister points finger to Venezuela in oil spills

This Sept. 1, 2019 handout photo released by Instituto Verdeluz, shows the carcass of a turtle covered in oil on Sabiaguaba beach, in Fortaleza, Ceara state, Brazil. Brazil's main environmental agency said Thursday it has detected 105 crude oil spills from an undetermined source polluting the waters of the country's northeast coast this month. "So far there is no evidence of contamination of fish and crustaceans," the institute said, though it said the spills had killed seven sea turtles. (Instituto Verdeluz via Instituto Verdeluz)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s environment minister Ricardo Salles says a report from state oil company Petrobras indicates the oil that has been polluting the country’s northeastern beaches comes from Venezuela.

Oil sludge started landing on Brazil’s coast at the beginning of September and has now reached 61 municipalities in nine states, contaminating over 130 beaches.

Salles told lawmakers Wednesday the oil “probably comes from Venezuela, as says the Petrobras study”.

Speaking to the lower house of Congress’ environmental commission, Salles said the oil was transported on a foreign boat navigating close to the Brazilian coast.

Petrobras president Roberto Castello Branco called the spills a “very worrying disaster” with no signs of receding.

In Sergipe state, authorities declared a state of emergency and recommend people not use the polluted beaches.

The Associated Press