Brazilian President cancels $1.5 billion of outstanding illegal deforestation fines

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Brazil’s President has issued an executive order revoking 60 percent of outstanding environmental fines imposed on ranchers and agribusiness for illegally clearing forest on their land.

The cancelled fines are worth $1.5 billion, according to the Brazilian Environment Institute. The discount will apply on the condition that firms reinvest the same amount into conservation projects.

President Michel Temer defended the move as intended to attract foreign investment. But opponents accused him of once again capitulating to the interests of Brazilian agribusiness, represented in the lower house of Brazil’s congress by a block of 200 legislators known as the bancada ruralista.

Temer issued the order a few days before the lower house voted to shelve corruption charges against him on 25 October.

Image: Brazil's congress building, where legislators voted to shelve corruption charges against President Michel Temer. Credit: Carlos Martinez/Flickr