Congress tries to change environmental laws amid the World Cup – 11/28/2022 – Ambiente

While attention turns to the World Cup and parliamentarians negotiate the Transition PEC, a series of environmental impact guidelines advances in Congress.

Since the start of the World Cup in Qatar, there has been progress in the processing of at least five proposals defended by ruralists and criticized by environmentalists in the House and Senate.

This Tuesday (29), the CRA (Commission on Agriculture) of the Senate should try, for the second time in less than a week, to vote on the proposal that releases more pesticides and reduces control over them. The text is dubbed by environmentalists as PL do Veneno.

On the day of the debut of the Brazilian team, last Thursday (24), the CRA tried to deliberate on the project, but the opposition managed to postpone the decision.

The proposal that exempts the State from responsibility for the sanitary inspection of agribusiness, approved by the committee in June, already has its report ready and is waiting to be discussed in the Senate plenary. Trying to prevent this from happening, the opposition managed, on Wednesday (23), to approve a new session of debates on the subject (which should take place in December).

Dubbed by critics of PL do Autocontrole, the proposal determines that control over the storage of products, such as meat in slaughterhouses, is the responsibility of the private sector.

The two proposals are part of the series of environmental impact guidelines that, as shown by the Sheetare criticized by specialists at the same time that they are processed in an accelerated way or without appreciation by all the thematic commissions, such as the one for the Environment.

In the Environment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, three proposals were advanced, criticized by environmentalists and which have a conclusive procedure —that is, they do not need to go through the plenary, only through the thematic groups. They make the Forest Code and the Atlantic Forest Law more flexible.

For experts heard by the report, the progress of these proposals happens not only because the attention of politics and the population is focused on the Transition PEC and the World Cup.

Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) allies are trying to advance the projects while they still don’t have any resistance from the federal government – which could happen when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) takes power.

“The ruralists are in a hurry to approve projects that are in the final stages of processing, and that may still be sanctioned by Bolsonaro this year end. It is the government’s balance in its final stretch, trying to approve projects that only benefit them”, says Luiza Lima, public policy adviser at Greenpeace.

“It’s a kind of end-of-fair xepa”, agrees Kenzo Jucá, legislative consultant for ISA (Instituto Socioambiental). “The PL do Veneno was put on the agenda on the day of Brazil’s debut in the Cup, something completely unusual in legislative history for a matter with so many interests involved.”

THE Sheet approached the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Acir Gurgacz (PDT-RO), but had no response until the publication of this text

Chairman of the Chamber’s Environment Commission, Covatti Filho (PP-RS) disagrees with the criticism and says that, during COP27 (United Nations climate conference, held in Egypt), he even removed some sensitive issues from the agenda, in respect to deputies who were at the event and could not follow the debate in Brasilia.

“Since before the election period we had already agreed that we would put all the matters available for voting on the agenda. This World Cup situation is an excuse that makes no sense. On the agenda we have several projects of interest to both environmentalists and people who defend agriculture,” he said.

According to the deputy, the charge on the processing of the issues is unfounded, since there was an agreement for them to be deliberated.

The main project that advanced in the Chamber is the one that makes the rules for protection of the Atlantic Forest more flexible. In practice, it grants amnesty to a series of deforestations and even makes room for more forests to be authorized to be cut down.

The rapporteur for the text was Deputy Nilto Tatto (PT-SP), who recommended rejecting the proposal. However, his opinion was overturned in the session, and the matter advanced anyway.

Now, the project goes to the Constitution and Justice Commission and, if approved there, it goes to the Senate, without having to go through the plenary of the House – unless there is an appeal.

This same procedure can happen with the other two projects approved in the last session: one that allows the creation of water reservoirs and dams within APPs (permanent preservation areas) for use in agriculture and livestock and irrigation and another that more than doubles the annual amount of wood that can be extracted from forest reserves in small rural properties —from 15 m³ to 40 m³.

The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.

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