A proposed constitutional amendment (PEC-65/2012) that would effectively eliminate environmental licensing continues to progress to a Senate vote under “urgent” status. This would make the mere submission of an environmental impact study an automatic authorization for constructing any major infrastructure project, making any analysis by Brazil's environmental agency (IBAMA) merely token.
Proposed bills in the Senate (PLS-654/2015) and Chamber of Deputies (PL-3,729/2004) also are proceeding under “urgent” status. These would abbreviate the process of licensing and set an impossible deadline for IBAMA to approve any license, after which the proposed project would be automatically authorized.
A dramatic example of the surprising nature of such proposals occurred in September 2016, when a sweeping bill for a "Program for Partnerships for Investment" (PPI) suddenly appeared (Law 13.334/2016) and was approved by the National Congress and then sanctioned by the new Brazilian President, Michael Temer, the next day.
Debate in the Senate plenary was limited to three opposition speakers -- but was a meaningless farce because under “urgent” status the party positions had been set and nothing said could change the votes.
This new law gives the PPI Executive Board power to override both IBAMA and Brazil's national agency for indigenous peoples (FUNAI), as well as all state and municipal agencies. With this unprecedented new law already approved, we can only wait in trepidation to see how the PPI progresses.
It doesn't stop there. In December a series of proposals suddenly appeared to authorize three industrial waterways, including one on the Tapajós and Teles Pires Rivers in southeastern Amazonia, that would involve flooding Munduruku indigenous land. The key Senate committee vote on these proposals has been delayed until the Senate reconvenes next month.