Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the relaxation of environmental permitting regulations for construction projects is “unacceptable”. A constitutional amendment bill (PEC) currently pending before the Senate proposes that project execution should be authorized upon submission of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the private business involved in the project.
“From my point of view, this is against the Constitution. The environment is a public facility, and environmental permits authorize—on behalf of the public—business corporations to take ownership of that environmental area. That is what environmental permits and environmental impact reports are for. A law that takes a step back from existing regulations is unacceptable,” Teixeira said during the World Environmental Law Congress in Rio de Janeiro on Friday (Apr. 29).
In her opinion, the quality of the environmental assessment reports produced by businesses is often “deplorable”, and laws cannot be changed to favor the interests of one sector. “We shouldn't go along with the idea of an organization taking hold of a public facility without the society discussing that.”
In recent federal administrations, she said, environmental regulations have seen important advances, and that is a legacy that must be safeguarded.
Achim Steiner, Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), also criticized attempts to ease up on Brazil's environmental regulations. “There is general consensus that the country can not be destroyed for the sake of development. The price to pay for pollution and the destruction of ecosystems falls on society. In fact, we should be making regulations tougher in the coming years,” he said.
According to him, the responsibility for environmental permitting does not lie with the business carrying out the project in any other country.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.