Brazil's government slapped state oil giant Petrobras
with a record fine of nearly $100 million on Aug 1 for causing the country's worst oil spill
in 25 years in a disastrous July pipeline rupture.
Environmental agency Ibama said
the fine - the highest-ever imposed for damage to the ecosystem - was justified due to Petrobras' inability prevent a series of oil spills
this year, considered a repeated offense by officials. Petrobras has caused four spills since January.
Petrobras' press office declined comment on the fine, saying only: "We have received (official notice of) the fine and we are studying it."
The latest government sanctions against Petrobras came
after a broken pipeline oozed
a million gallons of crude down the Iguacu River
in southern Brazil
, contaminating ecological reserves on the banks of the river.
Environmental groups were unimpressed by the fine, saying it represented only a hiccup in the company's bulging profits and would do little to force it to step up prevention efforts. "Don't forget this is a company that turns out more than $60 million a day," said Greenpeace President Roberto Kishinami. "This is not going to change Petrobras' relationship with society, or compensate for the long-term damage to the environment."