Brazilian President Vetoes Controversial Changes to Forest Code

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has vetoed critical revisions to the nation’s Forest Code that environmental advocates said would lead to rampant deforestation of the Amazon.

Speaking to reporters, government officials said Rousseff had vetoed 12 of the 84 articles in the controversial land-use legislation that was passed by the Brazilian congress last month, including provisions that would grant partial amnesty to landowners who illegally cleared forests and would reduce the size of forested buffer zones along rivers.

Those revisions had been seen as a key victory for Brazil’s powerful agribusiness lobby. Today, however, Environmental Secretary Izabella Teixeira said the proposed changes posed threats to ecosystem preservation and sustainable agriculture production.

Opponents had contended the legislation would create loopholes that would enable landowners to clear significantly more forest, require them to restore only half as much forest as mandated under existing laws, and send a dangerous message about Brazil’s commitment to forest preservation. The presidential veto comes just two weeks before global leaders descend on Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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