Land in this area of Rio was very cheap just a few years ago, not it’s still cheap compared to other parts of Rio, but it’s getting more and more expensive since it was chosen as the area that will house the Comperj, the Petrochemical Complex of Rio.
An area of 2,500 hectares – equivalent to three times the Copacabana neighbourhood- in the vicinity of the Petrochemical Complex of Rio (Comperj) will house a park and will be reforested with 1.5 million seedlings. The requirement was included in the conditions of the refinery installation license granted by the state Department of Environment (SEA). Petrobras will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the conservation unit in Guapimirim. The decision ends a stalemate that had lasted two years. It will also replenish the state preservation areas permanent land. Recently, the state sent to the Secretariat of the Environment a study suggesting the creation of an environmental protection area (APA), an area less restrictive and that allows buildings. But the park’s decision followed a request from the Technical Institute Chico Mendes (ICMBio), the body responsible for managing the APA Guapimirim, a unit of the refinery just outside the area that houses the remaining mangroves in Guanabara Bay. In assesment of the ICMBio, just a park, by prohibiting construction, ensures the water balance required for survival of the “lung” of Guanabara Bay, the mangrove forest of seven thousand acres, a place that serves as a “nursery” for fish.
The land in question had already been declared a public utility, for expropriation by the governor Sergio Cabral in 2008. The measure, said the State Secretary of Environment, Carlos Minc, curbed land speculation in the region, allowing for environmental preservation.
– Real estate prices soared in Itaboraí , Guapimirim and in areas around the Comperj. So we have to prevent the uncontrolled growth in the region. The park, on this new condition we are doing with Petrobras, will have some tourist use. And the state will have to plant 1.5 million seedlings within the unit. The park will hold the protective function of mangrove forest, to prevent soil salinization – Minc said.
With the inclusion of the park, Petrobras and the environmental agency overcame the last obstacles to the licensing process for the refinery, which is expected to start operating in 2014. Already agreed that the state will invest R$ 240 million to build a dam on the Rio Guapiaçu in Waterfalls Macacu in order to enhance water necessary for the project, plus R$ 160 million in sanitation and Itaboraí, Marica, where it will move the emissary of the refinery.