Brazilian President Rousseff to veto amnesty to deforesters

14:47, May 25, 2011      

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that she will veto any articles granting amnesty to farmers who deforested protected land if an amendment to the country's Forest Code is approved by the Congress.

Rousseff had a one-hour meeting with ten former ministers, who oppose the amendment to the Forest Code, which is expected to be voted later Tuesday.

In an open letter to the president and the Congress on Monday, the ministers condemned the bill which they said is damaging the environment and represents a regression in the conservation regulations.

The amendment foresees a reduction in the share of private properties which cannot be deforested. It also will grant a pardon to some farmers who deforested their lands.

According to Rubens Ricupero, a former environment minister from 1993 to 1994, Rousseff showed solidarity to their concerns.

"The president is willing to prevent regressions in the environmental laws," he said. "She said she will not accept a rise in the deforestation and made it clear that she will veto the amnesty."

Rousseff, however, did not promise to postpone the voting as the ministers requested.

Carlos Minc, who served as environment minister from 2008 to 2010, said Rousseff agreed that the rising deforestation in the Amazon rain forest is related to the expectations for the approval of the new code and the possible amnesty to deforesters.

"She feels the rise in the deforestation in Mato Grosso state has something to do with the possibility of impunity," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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