RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A major Brazilian daily Tuesday said that the Rio de Janeiro state governor wants to use money earmarked for an environmental fund to cover shortfalls in civil servants' pensions.
A press officer at Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao's office confirmed the information published Tuesday by the O Globo newspapers.
The newspaper said the money would cover an expected 2016 pension payment deficit of US$3 billion and that the government has pledged that the Rio de Janeiro state treasury would replace the funds.
The Rio de Janeiro State Environmental Protection Fund has been used to improve sewage treatment centers and begin cleaning lakes, rivers and Guanabara Bay, a water sports venue for the upcoming Olympic games.
Pezao's proposal must be approved by the State Legislature.
The newspaper said that because of a drop in oil royalty revenues from the country's oil fields, money spent on cleanup projects fell 30 percent last year compared with a year earlier.
Carlos Minc, Rio de Janeiro's former environment secretary, told O Globo the governor's proposal will cause Rio to "take an environmental step backward."
"The money will not be replaced and the fund will be left with nothing," he said.