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FARM BILL EASES FOREST PROTECTION IN BRAZIL

04/30/2012

Brazil's congress voted to approve legislation easing rules on how much land farmers must preserve as forests. Though the bill requires millions of hectares of cleared land to be replanted, environmentalists say it makes land use regulations too lenient. "The approved bill gives a total and unrestricted amnesty to those who deforested . . . and goes against what the government itself had wanted," said Greenpeace in a statement. The final law allows federal states to decide how much forest needs to be replaced alongside rivers. Greenpeace urged president Dilma Rousseff to use her veto to remove the bill's changes, but a large enough majority in Congress could overturn it. Katia Abreu, head of the national agriculture confederation, said that the law did not necessarily mean that states would impose softer rules, but she did say that it would be impossible to know how much would have to replanted until after states issued rules. Environmental groups expressed dismay at the passage of the bill right before Brazil hosts the Rio+20 summit. For the full story, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/26/brazil-amazon-forest-law and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17851237.