Now and then a real environmental emergency comes along. This is one of those times.
Stealth in the Senate
A group of conservative politicians in the Brazilian Senate is using the country’s current political crisis as cover to push through a constitutional amendment — one that could have devastating environmental consequences.
If ratified, the amendment would allow fast-tracking of major dams and infrastructure projects that would imperil the nation’s forests and indigenous peoples.
The amendment, known as “PEC 65”, was approved on April 27 by the Senate Commission of the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship. One of its provisions would prevent the cancellation of a public infrastructure project if the contractor had submitted even a basic environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Such EIAs have been heavily criticized for often being ‘quick and dirty’ assessments that fail to consider many indirect impacts of projects or the full range of environmental and social damage they will cause.
Time for Action
If ratified, the law would effectively gut Brazil’s environmental licensing process for infrastructure projects. Environmental groups must act very quickly if they are to stop the amendment from being pushed through Congress.
One of the politicians leading the push for PEC 65 is Senator Blairo Maggi. Maggi, former governor of Mato Grasso state and owner of a massive soy corporation, has been heavily criticized in the past for destroying vast expanses of Amazon forest.
It appears that Maggi would stand to gain financially from the network of dams and canals proposed for Amazon’s Tapajós basin that would facilitate the transport of soy from the country’s interior to export ports.
ALERT will be putting out a press release and doing everything possible to raise international awareness of this issue.
It’s a truly urgent situation, so please pass the word. There’s a real danger that this amendment could be passed at a time when the Brazilian people are distracted by the nation’s political upheaval.