Brazil land law passes in defeat for Rousseff

Maria Carolina Marcello, Peter Murphy – Reuters, 04/26/2012

Brazil’s Congress passed a bill easing rules mandating the amount of forest that farmers must preserve, 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 expect it will make 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 or put back.

Rousseff still has the option of vetoing the bill, one of the most controversial to pass Brazil’s Congress in recent years. Several government sources told Reuters they expect her to do so because the approved text ditched a hard-bargained compromise deal the government took months to reach.

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