Brazilian congress adopts controversial land use law

Reuters/Guardian, 04/25/2012


A member of Brazil's Congress protests against the adoption of the country's new Forest Code. The placard reads: 'Forest Code, Veto Dilma'. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Brazil‘s congress voted late on Wednesday to ease rules mandating the amount of forest farmers must keep on their land, delivering a long-sought victory to the country’s powerful agriculture lobby and a political defeat for president Dilma Rousseff.

Though the bill will require millions of hectares of already cleared land to be replanted, environmentalists say it makes it too easy for farmers, responsible for much of the deforestation of the Amazon and other swaths of environmentally sensitive land in recent decades, to comply with regulations that stipulate how much forest they must preserve.

Rousseff still has the option to veto the bill, one of the most controversial to pass Brazil’s congress in recent years. The bill was supported by some of her party’s senators and members of its multi-party coalition, even though the president had previously said she would veto earlier versions of the law that contained provisions perceived as too lenient on farmers who have cleared woodlands for agriculture.

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