Brazil Congress overrules Rousseff on oil royalties

Brasilia, Mar 7 (EFE).- Brazilian lawmakers have overturned President Dilma Rousseff's veto of sections of an oil royalties bill, voting to distribute that income more equitably throughout the country's 27 states, it was announced Thursday.

In vetoing parts of the legislation in November, Rousseff proposed that producing states continue to receive the bulk of the royalty payouts from existing contracts.

But the legislators from both houses of Congress, in a joint session that began late Wednesday, voted to enact a more equitable royalty regime for both existing and future production.

Rousseff's wish to earmark a portion of states' royalty revenue for education also was voted down.

Anticipating the outcome, Rousseff had said Wednesday it would be very regrettable if her veto were to be overturned but that whatever Congress decided would become law.

The vote mainly affects the states of Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo, which expect a rapid increase in offshore oil production as the development of ultra-deep, "pre-salt" fields picks up pace in the coming years.

Authorities in Rio de Janeiro state slammed the congressional vote and said they would challenge the law before the Supreme Court.

Rio government officials said the state would lose 3.4 billion reais ($1.6 billion) annually as a result of the new law.