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In Order to Avoid Friction, Brazil's Government Revokes Extinction of Amazon Reserve

09/26/2017 - 10h35



President Michel Temer gave into pressure exerted by environmentalists and decided to revoke a decree that would have extinguished the conservation area in the Amazon known as Renca (National Reserve of Copper and Associates).

The decision was announced in a statement issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and said, however, that it was in favor of reintroducing the debate on the matter "on a separate occasion", and in "as democratic a fashion as possible".

"The factors that led to the proposal of the decree that called for the extinction of the reserve still remain. The country must grow and create new jobs, attracting investments in the mineral sector, especially so that the economic potential in the region can be explored", the ministry stated.

On Tuesday (the 26th), a new decree will be published, revoking Temer's initiatives and reinstituting the rules that had been in place since 1984.

This will be the third decree that the president has introduced on the matter ever since he decided to lift the region's restrictions on foreign mining sector investments back in August.

The decision to revoke the decree was reached over the weekend. The president broached the issue with Minister Fernando Coelho Filho (Mines and Energy) and consulted members of his governing coalition in order to determine whether the decision to extinguish the reserve would carry any political backlash.

The Temer administration reached the conclusion that extinguishing the reserve would create unnecessary friction between the executive branch and both public opinion and the artistic class, at a time when the president is trying to fend off the new charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy, which are being brought against him.

"No president is completely immune to public pressure", said Greenpeace in a statement on Monday (the 25th). According to the organization, the president's decision to recant represents "a victory of society over those who want to destroy and sell the forest".

The first decree introduced had extinguished Renca, an area that includes mineral reserves of gold, iron and copper. The reserve was created by Brazil's military dictatorship back in 1984.

The president first decided to review his decisions back in August - merely one week after having proposed the original decree- when a new bill containing additional information on the extinction measure was introduced.

After, in yet another revision, the Ministry of Mines and Energy stated that it would be suspending "all procedures connected to potential mining rights" within the Renca region. At first, the extinction of Renca represented a triumph for the Mines and Energy Ministry over the Ministry of the Environment.

A statement issued by the Ministry of the Environment about the reserve in the Amazon back in June - one month before the publication of president Temer's decree - demonstrated that the department had positioned itself against the extinction of the reserve.

"The region is composed of a dense and exuberant forest, whose surroundings are also well-preserved", read the statement issued by the ministry.

During that period, a series of court rulings were also issued against the Temer administration throughout the entire country.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy said in a statement that it is upholding its commitment, as well as the commitment of the government as a whole, to protect the environment and to abide by the protections that exist in Brazil's laws in terms of environmental conservation.


Read the article in the original language

Agência Pará
The National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca) holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper
The National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca) holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper

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