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Forest code partially vetoed
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Environmental organizations say president’s decision falls short of adequate forest protection.

President Dilma Rousseff vetoed part of a controversial forest protection reform, on May 25, a month after it was passed in Congress, but environmentalists said her move isn’t bold enough to help to conserve the country’s forests.

The changes to the 1965 forest code halved the buffer which landowners are required to maintain on their property along rivers, and also reduced the percentage of rural areas that are prohibited from being deforested. It also established an amnesty for those who had cleared forest reserves.

Rousseff vetoed 12 of the 84 articles of the reform, including the amnesty and those that relaxed the amount of forest landowners must keep intact.

But environmental organizations said this was not enough.

Environmental organizations that promoted the campaign for the total veto considered that the partial veto is insufficient. Greenpeace said that by planting controversial eucalyptus trees, rural land owners are forgiven for deforesting some areas.

In a May 28 statement, the Brazilian Committee for the Defense of Forests and Sustainable Development — an umbrella of 163 environmentalist groups — said that the Brazilian government lost the chance to not cede to the pressure from rural landowners and aim for sustainable and social development.

The organization complained that Rousseff kept an amnesty clause in the law.

The text must now go back to Congress for approval.
—Latinamerica Press.

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