[Translation by Google.]

By Victor Pires
12 April 2017

(ISA) – In a symbolic vote, at the end of the morning (12/4), in seven minutes, parliamentarians approved a report by Deputy José Reinaldo (PSB-MA) of Provisional Measure (MP) 758/2016, which reduces the protection of 510 thousand hectares [1.26 million acres] of protected areas in western Pará. The text now goes to the plenary of the House and, if it is approved, to the Senate. MP needs to be approved by May 29.

The session of the special joint committee was emptied, but through a maneuver - which used the quorum of yesterday's session, when the report was read - the few parliamentarians present voted for their approval in a symbolic way without formal registration of individual votes . The meeting was attended by MPs Zé Geraldo (PT-PA), Josué Bengtson (PTB-PA) and Joaquim Passarinho (PSD-PA) and Senator Flexa Ribeiro (PSDB-PA).

The original text of the MP, sent by the government to the Congress, enlarged the National Park (Parna) of the Jamanxim by 50 thousand hectares. The report read yesterday not only excluded this expansion as it anticipated the transformation of 101 thousand hectares of Parna into an Environmental Protection Area (APA) and transferred another 70 thousand hectares of the same area to the National Forest (Flona) of Trairão. In addition, it established that 169 thousand hectares of the National Forest of Itaituba II would also be recategorized as APA.

In the last minute of today's vote, at the request of Senator Flexa Ribeiro (PSDB-PA), an amendment was approved by members Francisco Chapadinha (PTN-PA) and José Priante (PMDB-PA) to transform into APA another 172,000 hectares of Parana do Jamanxim (see table below).

The APA is a Conservation Unit (UC) that allows in its interior private lands, that can be regularized and sold. In the APA, deforestation is permitted, whereas in Parnas it is prohibited and in the Flonas only the selective cut can be made according to the management plan. Therefore, we can consider that 510 thousand hectares had their degree of protection reduced, being that of these 442 thousand hectares may become private area, encompassed in APAs.

"This modification [the new amendment], in fact, was included. She was forgotten in the writing of the report and I went back to comply. It is an anthropized area and you do not see any sense in not complying with the amendment, "said Reinaldo, when asked about the inclusion of the amendment at 45 of the second half.

In addition to the occupation of farmers, the construction of the Railroad EF-170, known as Ferrogrão, and the paving of the BR-163 highway, which crosses the Parna, is being used as justification for MP approval. In the area transformed in Flona, ​​the change can benefit mining companies. Parnas, unlike Flonas, do not allow mining inside.

Screenshot frpmo the meeting to vote on the report of the Joint Committee that examines the MP 758/2016, amending the boundaries of the National Park of the Jamanxim and Tapajós environmental protection area, 12 April 2017. Photo: TV Senado

Yesterday, another MP had been approved, 756/2016, which removed 480,000 hectares of Flona do Jamanxim and another 180,000 hectares of the Serra do Cachimbo Natural Reserve (Rebio), in the same region, as well as 10,000 hectares, Of Parna São Joaquim (SC), thousands of kilometers from Pará.

Therefore, 1.1 million hectares of protected areas are threatened only in Pará. If we add another 1 million protected hectares that parliamentarians from Amazonas try to cut down in the south of the state, we speak of almost 2.2 million protected hectares [5.4 million acres] under risk, the Equivalent to the territory of Sergipe.

"The approval of the two provisional measures is a crime against Brazil. All of these aggressions together will have a detrimental effect on biodiversity and the transportation of rain to south-central Brazil. Who will suffer this will be the people in the cities, the farmers, the generation of energy, the country as a whole, "says Ciro Campo, an adviser to ISA. He points out that there are people who were in the area before the creation of the Parna of the Jamanxim and deserve to have their occupations regularized, but criticizes the MPs for they also benefit grileiros and occupants of bad faith.

"I think it was a very quick report, under pressure from some owners who are in the region and who want to document their properties," said Rep. Zé Geraldo (PT-PA), vice chairman of the joint committee. Despite the criticism, he voted in favor of the report. [more]

Em sete minutos, parlamentares aprovam mutilação de áreas protegidas no Pará

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