Though signed, Brazil’s forest law not a done deal
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff last month modified and signed a bill to overhaul the country’s 1965 Forest Code, she claimed to have reconciled economic and environmental interests. But her bid to resolve the months-long political fight, which pits green advocates against Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby, has only set the stage for further legislative battling.
Earlier, Rousseff had said that rather than veto the legislation outright, as environmentalists want, she would veto its stickiest component—amnesties for some landowners who have deforested more than current law allows—and fill the gap with a provisional measure. However, her 12 line-item vetoes and a provisional measure that made 32 other changes did not remove the amnesties, which critics fear will prompt further illegal cutting in the expectation of future lenience.
Since Congress can overturn vetoes and must approve provisional measures, Rousseff’s modifications to the bill were bound to require future legislative action. But if her hope was to establish the framework for a compromise, the odds of such an outcome seem long, judging by the reception her executive actions received.