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The tactic is trawling: government and Congress throw a net large enough to catch the entire school at once. Replace the fish with our rights, the integrity of the environment and even the historical patrimony of the country. A couple of small fish escape, but all the big fish are caught by trawler. It works like this: The Executive and Legislative issues Provisional Measures (MPs), Constitutional Amendment Projects (PECs) and Law Projects (PLs) all dealing with the same matter, successively, until one of them is approved. And it’s night fishing, because the voting often happens in the dead of night.
Coming directly from the Planalto Palace, MPs 756/2016 and 758/2016, authored by President Michel Temer, wipe out more than 1.1 million hectares of protected areas and Conservation Units ) Of the Brazilian forests in one big swoop, which is about twice the area of the Federal District. The most affected CU is the Jamanxim National Forest (Flona), in Pará, which, in addition to losing an area of 486,000 hectares (37% of the total), must be transformed into an Environmental Protection Area (APA), which allows for livestock and mining activities. The change also favors land-grabbers and squatters who invaded Flona, which was already the most deforested Amazon in the Amazon – Jamanxim has already lost 12% of its forest cover.
Today, at least 10% of the country’s protected lands are threatened by projects underway in Congress. There are about 80 thousand km2 or the size of Austria. The first in line is PL 3,729 / 2004, which relaxes the rules on environmental licensing in Brazil. It can be put to a vote at any time. Much criticized by environmentalists, NGOs and even government agencies, the PL, which is being discussed by the Chamber’s Finance and Taxation Commission (CFT), has undergone several adaptations and is already in its seventh revision. However, according to representatives of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), it still contains unconstitutional proposals that can cause a political and legal tsunami. Among the criticized points are the autonomy granted to the states to issue environmental licenses. Licenses issued regardless of the opinion of the public bodies directly affected, the exemption of licensing of high environmental impact in agriculture and livestock activities and the end of archaeological licensing.
The fact of allowing states to legislate at their own pleasure, establishing their own rules to use them as bait to attract enterprises can directly impact the cities master plans and gradually reduce environmental protection in the country. Also according to the PL, instituions such as Iphan, FUNAI and Instituto Chico Mendes would only be consulted at the time of renewal of licenses, and that is likely only to happen within five or six years – the famous too late.
Another point questioned is the exemption of licensing for activities such as agriculture and livestock, and for major infrastructure works, such as the expansion of road works, railways and in energy transmission and distribution systems. According to the text, only issues related to deforestation should be evaluated, according to the Forest Code. Practices, such as the use of agrochemicals, which can have a serious impact on the environment, are not included in the PL. And although it is called environmental licensing, it also includes Brazilian historical heritage, as archaeological sites.
The weakening of environmental licensing is one of the setbacks denounced by the resistance movement formed by more than 100 environmental and indigenous organizations, indigenous, human and land rights organizations against the actions of the Temer government and the ruralist group that endangers the entire country.
Let’s stop this network! #resista! (resist)