Juliana Barbassa – AP, 12/07/2011
The Brazilian Senate voted 59-7 Tuesday to approve new environmental legislation that would loosen restrictions on deforestation in the Amazon and give amnesty to those who illegally cleared land before July 2008.
At least 70 amendments were tacked onto the bill and must still be voted on. But sponsors of the legislation swore to knock down anything that changes the text’s main points, and they have the support to make good on the threat.
The bill now goes back to the lower house, which already passed one version of the measure.
President Dilma Rousseff must also sign any legislation approved by the Congress. She pledged during her campaign for the presidency last year to veto any portion of an environmental bill that provides amnesty for those who illegally cleared land in the past. She now faces a tough political battle dealing with a strong agriculture lobby.