Endangered areas of five Conservation Units for the construction of hydroelectric dams on the river Tapajós in Brazil. Graphic: Imazon

[Translation by Google.]

16 August 2017 (Imazon) – The future of the 328 Federal Conservation Units (UCs), in addition to hundreds of states, throughout Brazil can be decided this week by the Federal Supreme Court (STF). This Wednesday (16 August 2017), two Direct Actions of Unconstitutionality (ADIs) - 4717 and 3646 - that deal with the acts of creation, recategorization, expansion, reduction, and disempowerment of these protected areas will be analyzed by the court.

Depending on the final decision, judgments of such actions may result in the annulment of practically all Conservation Units in the country, as well as pave the way for those protected areas to be reduced or depleted by a Provisional Measure.

In response to this threat, environmental organizations - Friends of the Earth, Coalition Pro-UCs, Greenpeace Brazil, ISA, Imazon, Ipam, SOS Mata Atlântica, TNC Brasil and WWF Brasil - joined and launched, on Tuesday (15 August 2017) A technical legal note on these actions.

"Brazil is currently experiencing an unprecedented offensive to the Conservation Units. There are countless cases with claims to reduce or reduce the size of areas or to reduce the protection status of Conservation Units, as well as bills and other legislative proposals aimed at deconstructing the National System of Conservation Units, "says the note .

One of the actions, ADI 4717, was filed by the Attorney General's Office to question the constitutionality of the reduction of eight Conservation Units in the Amazon promoted by Provisional Measure 558/2012, transformed into law 12,678 / 2012.

The norm excludes land from these areas currently flooded by the Jirau and Santo Antônio hydropower plants in the Madeira River (RO), the Tabajara hydroelectric plant on the Machado River (RO), and the São Luiz do Tapajós and Jatobá hydroelectric power plants on the Tapajós river ( PA), as well as areas to regulate occupations.

Since then, the scenario has changed and some of these developments have ceased to be of interest to the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), and have even been excluded from the Ten-Year Energy Plan (PDE).

According to the NGO's assessment, "the issue of a Provisional Measure to reduce or deface Conservation Units constitutes an act flagrantly incompatible with the nature of the legal good in question."

Regarding the effects of the judgment, the entities affirm that "allowing the reduction or elimination of Conservation Units by Provisional Measure ... may result in a flood of new lawsuits in the same direction, making the environment a bargaining chip in routine political bargains."

In a statement addressed to the Federal Supreme Court, Professor Paulo Affonso Leme Machado, one of the greatest experts in Environmental Law in Brazil, expressed the same view of organizations: "There is a serious environmental risk in the use of interim measures to change or Unit of conservation. The provisional measure has immediate effectiveness, although it must be converted into law if approved in Parliament. However, it must be assessed that there are effects of an interim measure which may be irreversible for the environment to be protected. "

The ADI 3646, filed by the governor of Santa Catarina, intends to declare the unconstitutionality of art. 22, of the Law of the National System of Conservation Units, because it is not compatible with the Federal Constitution to create, expand and recategorize (more restrictive under the optimum environment) to be enforced by an act of infralegal (decree).

According to the organizations analysis, if action 3646 is deemed appropriate by the STF, the creation of protected areas will be halted, definitively undermining the effectiveness of Snuc's law. According to the note, of the 328 (three hundred and twenty-eight) Federal Conservation Units in Brazil, only 5 (five) were created by law.

The eventual declaration of unconstitutionality of the devices questioned could result in the declaration of nullity of practically all the Conservation Units of the Country.

Check out the full note here.

STF decide futuro das Unidades de Conservação nesta semana

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