Lula vetoes sections of law easing deforestation in Atlantic Forest

World Environment Day was celebrated in Brazil

Published on 06/06/2023 - 10:10 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Agência Brasil - Brasília

In a ceremony commemorating World Environment Day at the Planalto presidential palace, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva approved and vetoed provisions of a newly passed law aimed at reducing restrictions on deforestation in the Atlantic Forest, one of Brazil's most endangered biomes.

The so-called Atlantic Forest provisional measure law was originally drafted by the previous government and included an extension of the deadline by 180 days for rural property owners to participate in the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA).

President Lula's vetoes on Monday (Jun. 5) addressed specific aspects of the law. The changes he vetoed allowed deforestation of areas designated for power transmission lines, gas pipelines, or public water supply systems without requiring prior environmental impact assessments or any form of compensation.

The law also exempted the capture, collection, and transportation of wild animals, only ensuring their repulsion. Additionally, it permitted the removal of secondary vegetation in a moderate stage of regeneration for public utility purposes, even when alternative locations or technical solutions were available.

All these provisions were vetoed, as announced by Brazil’s presidential palace. The National Congress will now review these vetoes, which can be overturned by a simple majority vote from the members of both houses.

Decrees

In addition to these actions, during the event, President Lula signed six decrees related to environmental initiatives. One notable decree established the Interministerial Committee on Climate Change, tasked with overseeing the implementation of actions and public policies outlined in the National Policy on Climate Change (PNMC).

Furthermore, the government issued a decree creating the National Council for the 30th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP30), scheduled to take place in Belém, Pará State, in 2025. This council will address infrastructure, logistics, organizational matters, and facilitate the government's collaboration with other agencies, federated entities, and civil society.

During her speech at the Planalto palace event, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, emphasized the expansion of the population's participation in the discussions of environmental issues, through the reactivation of social participation councils. She also highlighted the central geopolitical role environmental issues play today.

"The strategic significance of the environment within our government is about prioritizing social protection and addressing climate change. It goes beyond ethical and civilizational commitments. It represents Brazil's greatest asset in global engagement, attracting investments, creating jobs, and taking a leading role in solving major global challenges. This path positions us at the forefront of the 21st century," Minister Silva remarked.

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Denise Griesinger

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