ALERT member Philip Fearnside, the world's leading authority on Amazon development, reports a true political emergency in Brazil. Please spread this news immediately through your networks.
A proposal to create a special abbreviated licensing channel for “strategic” projects, such as major dams, would basically destroy Brazil’s environmental licensing system -- a system that took decades to create.
Even the current system is full of loopholes and weaknesses. This is abundantly evident when one sees the environmental and social crises being generated by massive dam schemes on the Madeira River, at Belo Monte, and the Tapajós River in the Brazilian Amazon.
Given the current problems in vetting proposed projects and avoiding severe environmental and social impacts, one can hardly imagine the chaos that would ensue under the proposed abbreviated system.
URGENT SENATE DEBATE
The proposal is being debated right at this moment in the Brazilian Senate -- under a special “urgent” regime that limits debate to a period of just 48 hours.
Nongovernmental groups and others are trying to have the debate extended, but have little leverage. There is a very real danger that this scheme will be railroaded through the Brazilian Senate.
Senator Romero Jucá, who is sponsoring the bill, has a long history of anti-environmental actions and of attempting to limit the rights of indigenous peoples.
Until recently Jucá was the Senate leader for the ruling coalition of political parties, and he is still one of the most powerful forces in Brasília.
SPEAK UP NOW
A global outcry is needed. The Amazon is being buried beneath a barrage of dam proposals -- with over 300 major dams currently being planned or under construction.
Vast areas of the basin -- including some of its most remote and biologically important areas -- could be flooded by dams and opened up by construction roads that will sharply accelerate deforestation.
Senator Jucá's proposal could gut direly needed environmental safeguards that are critical to the future to the Amazon.
Please tell your friends and colleagues to speak out -- now -- and advise Brazilians not to support this astonishingly ill-conceived scheme.