RIO DE JANEIRO – Greenpeace staged on Thursday an attention-grabbing protest against Brazil’s plans to auction off oil blocks in the Amazon region.
Activists clad in the traditional orange uniforms worn by workers at Brazilian state oil company Petrobras placed barrels and a drill outside the downtown Rio de Janeiro headquarters of the ANP energy regulator, which conducts oil and natural gas auctions in the South American country.
They also displayed signs reading “No to Oil Production in the Amazon,” “Absurd” and “ANP: Don’t Sell the Amazon to Oil Companies.”
“We’ve come to ask the ANP to withdraw its offer to award licenses in the Amazon. Producing oil in the Amazon runs counter to global efforts to combat climate change,” said one of Greenpeace’s directors in Brazil, Marcelo Laterman.
The Greenpeace protest was motivated by the Nov. 1 launch of a oil bidding round that includes 80 blocks in the Amazon region.
Many of the areas on offer are located near protected reserves, indigenous territories and a recently discovered coral reef system at the mouth of the Amazon, according to the non-governmental organization.
Regular oil operations would have a negative impact on the Amazon and its inhabitants, Laterman said.
“But the biggest threat is a possible oil spill, which would contaminate streams, trees and animals and cause irreversible damage in those regions and communities,” he added.