Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Brazil judge blocks decree opening Amazon area to mining

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2017-08-31 00:51:07 BdST

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FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows an illegal mining camp during an operation to combat illegal mining and logging conducted by agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama, supported by military police, in the municipality of Novo Progresso, Para State, northern Brazil, November 11, 2016. Reuters

A Brazilian judge on Wednesday granted an injunction blocking a decree by President Michel Temer that opens up a vast Amazon area to mining, a decision that the attorney general's office has said it will appeal.

Federal judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo ruled that the abolition of the area known as Renca, or the National Reserve of Copper and its Associates, could only be done by an act of Congress under the constitution.

Temer's decree earlier this month drew a barrage of criticism from lawmakers and activists, including moves to file lawsuits and block the decree in Congress, as it would allow mining in an area of roughly 17,800 square miles (46,000 square kilometres) that has been protected since 1984.

The government has responded with a flurry of news conferences and statements, and this week retracted the initial decree and reissued it with more details on overlapping protections that will remain in place after the abolition of Renca.