BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Amazon bill controversy in Brazil

posted by Becky Ran

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a critical bill waiting to be signed by Brazil’s President Lula de Silva, one that could devastate the Amazon forest by legalizing development of over 600,000 square kilometres of protected Amazon forest.

After hearing from activists around the world – Lula seems to have postponed his decision from its original date. According to the BBC today, he is expected to announce a decision tomorrow.

Greenpeace says it was expecting the decision last week, but the fact that it did not come is a sign of division within government, and an indication of the huge pressure on President Lula, who it says is receiving thousands of phonecalls and e-mails on the issue.

“We know that within his government there is a lot of tension between the ministries of agriculture and environment, land reform and strategic studies,” Marcelo Furtado, executive director of Greenpeace in Brazil, told the BBC News website.

“If he did not decide on any of the vetoes last week, our reading is that it is a bad indication that eventually the big landowners are actually having an impact on his approach.”

“We are extremely concerned.”

Mr Furtado says the bill, as it was originally presented, was already deeply flawed “in terms of the areas that would be privatised, in terms of who would have access to the land, in terms of lack of verification from any government authority on the status of the land”.

There’s still time to act – if you haven’t yet – send an email to the President’s office telling him that you want him to keep to his promises in the Brazilian National Plan for reducing deforestation.

Addresses to send messages: (president´s cabinet) (Civil House Minister´s cabinet)