Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Brazil’s Temer Extends Amnesty to Amazon Land-Grabbers

Embattled president is regularizing illegally occupied land at knock-down prices, in a move environmentalists fear will lead to more deforestation.
Norway’s environment minister Vidar Helgesen warns that assault on forest protection jeopardizes aid payments to Brazil through the Amazon Fund.

Green groups fear amnesty on land-grabbers will lead to more deforestation (Picture Credit: Vinícius Mendonça - Ascom/Ibama) Click to Enlarge.
Land-grabbing follows a well-established pattern in the Brazilian Amazon.  First, you invade a public vacant land, clear the forest as fast as you can, plant pasture, throw a few cattle on it and claim that you are a rural producer.  Then you wait until the federal government grants a generous amnesty. 

This cycle was completed again last week, when embattled president Michel Temer signed legislation, previously approved by Congress, to regularize more illegal claims.

Under the new law, anyone who appropriated Amazon land before 2011 may be excused, an extension from the previous 2004 limit.  The maximum area of claimable land has been increased from 1,500 hectares to 2,500 hectares per person.  What is more, the cost of title deeds has been discounted by up to 90%, from a government index that already values the land at below market rates.

Temer rubber-stamped the act as he tries to gather support in Congress, which is deciding whether to authorize the Supreme Court to try him for corruption – a first for a sitting Brazilian president.  It will help him keep the influential “beef caucus” onside, which has 207 out of 513 lawmakers in the lower chamber.

Read more at Brazil’s Temer Extends Amnesty to Amazon Land-Grabbers

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