The Star Late Edition
Green fears over new laws
ENVIRONMENTALISTS yesterday accused Brazilian lawmakers of further threatening the country’s disappearing rainforests after the lower house passed a bill relaxing environmental regulations for the agriculture and energy sectors.
The bill, which exempts 13 categories of projects from environmental permit requirements, passed late on Wednesday in a 300-122 vote, and now goes to the Senate.
It eliminates environmental permitting for “small-scale” farms and projects such as installing low-tension electricity lines and water-treatment facilities.
It also creates a new type of permit that will be granted for roads and power lines in return for a written promise to follow all environmental norms.
“This is an affront to Brazilian society,” said Luiza Lima, public policy adviser for environmental group Greenpeace. “This bill will create legal grey areas and increase the destruction of our forests and the existing threats to indigenous peoples and protected lands.”
The legislation is one of two controversial bills working their way through Brazil’s Congress. The other, in the Senate, would extend an amnesty for farms, mines and logging projects illegally set up on protected lands and grant their owners legal title.