Justice suspends Salles decision that ended mangrove protection

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The Federal Justice of Rio de Janeiro today suspended the extinction of two resolutions of Conama (National Council for the Environment) – chaired by the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles – that defined the permanent protection areas (APPs) of mangroves and sandbanks of the Brazilian coast.

“In view of the evident risk of irretrievable damage to the environment, I would like to anticipate the effects of the tutelage to suspend the effects of the revocation considered at the 135th Ordinary Meeting of Conama”, wrote judge Maria Amélia Almeida Senos de Carvalho, from the 23rd Federal Rio de Janeiro, in the decision.

The injunction is in response to a popular lawsuit filed by lawyers Juliana Cruz Teixeira da Silva, Leonardo Nicolau Passos Marinho, Renata Miranda Porto and Rodrigo da Silva Roma against the Union and Salles.

They argued that the repeal of resolutions 302 and 303, both of 2002, “violates the constitutional right to an ecologically balanced environment”, guaranteed in article 225 of the Constitution, as well as the National Environment Policy outlined in law 6.938 / 81 and the Forest Code (law No. 12,651 / 12).

Yesterday, when explaining the extinction of the rules, the government stated that these resolutions were covered by laws that came later, such as the Forest Code. Environmental experts pointed out, however, that even today these rules are applied, because they are the only legal instruments that effectively protect these areas.

Last month, for example, Cetesb (Environmental Company of the State of São Paulo) lost a lawsuit and was obliged, through a sentence, to respect the limits set out in the resolutions, “to avoid the occurrence of irreparable damage to the community and the environment “.

Ex-Ibama: “It is to pass the cattle”

Suely Vaz de Araújo, who chaired Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) between June 2016 and January 2019, during the Michel Temer (MDB) government, followed the Conama meeting in horror. According to her, those who work in environmental policy have never seen anything like what happened yesterday.

“What did the country gain from this?” Asked Suely, who currently serves as a senior public policy specialist at the Climate Observatory, in an interview with DW Brasil. “You can’t understand why so much insistence on such a thing. Who’s winning from that?”

She also criticized the new composition of Conama, now composed mostly of representatives of the federal government. Of the four chairs destined for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), said Suely, two entities that took over have already asked to leave.

“I think the last meeting showed how Conama is going to work. On almost all occasions, the minister has already forwarded the agenda directly to the vote, and someone always said that there had to be a discussion before. [Agora] The dynamics of the council is in the sense of passing the cattle, of voting the position that comes from the logic of the federal government’s pact with the business sector “, he evaluated.

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