THE PINK DOLPHIN 24/07/2017
“The Pink Dolphin” is the official blog of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
By: ALERT member Philip Fearnside, arguably the world’s leading authority on Amazon conservation, tells us about chilling recent events in Brazil:
The last two months have seen a spectacular series of blows to Brazil’s environmental licensing system and other eco-protections.
These have occurred in the days and even hours leading up to a congressional vote to begin impeachment actions against president Michel Temer, based on serious revelations of corruption.
There have been so many environmental and political setbacks recently that it’s difficult to know where to start.
For one thing, President Temer supported and signed the notorious “land-thieves law” that legitimizes illegal land claims of up to 2,500 hectares in area (the size of 5,000 football fields), many of which are in the Amazon rainforest.
Temer also reneged on an earlier promise to oppose an intensely controversial law that would gut the environmental licensing system for projects such as dams and highways.
He also has effectively pardoned vast sums in fines and debts owed to the government by the powerful agribusiness and ranching sectors , while weakening the criteria for definition of indigenous lands.
The president has also supported a controversial highway project demanded by conservative politicians — known as “ruralists” — and backed measures to reduce Amazonian protected areas.
These measures are in addition to Temer handing out over $1.3 billion in pork-barrel appropriations to selected federal deputies — with estimates of future handouts as high as $5.2 billion, not including other other expensive concessions to Temer’s political allies.
The “ruralists” are benefiting hugely from Temer’s generosity with public monies, and are now so powerful that they are blocking impeachment proceedings against him.
The president’s political handouts are worsening Brazil’s economic crisis, while cutting into funding direly needed by the Environment Ministry, among other government sectors.
This is Brazil today. A president with dark corruption allegations hanging over his head is willfully sacrificing the country’s incredible environment to save his own political skin — while handing out massive payouts to his “ruralist” allies in congress.
Editor’s Note: Article submitted to “The Pink Dolphin” by Mariana Almeida.
Gustavo López Ospina
Editor: Pieter Jan Brouwer
All Title photographs of the Amazon Pink fresh water Dolphin are the creation of Kevin Schafer.