A project that allows municipalities to define a protection area on the banks of rivers will be sanctioned

The Chamber of Deputies approved this Wednesday (8) a project that amends the Forest Code to authorize municipalities to define the size of the area to be protected around the rivers, in a text criticized by environmentalists for opening a gap for construction in preserved strips.

By 137 to 137, the deputies rejected the Senate amendments that sought to impose limits on the area subject to construction. The text goes on for sanction.

According to the proposal approved by the Senate, each city could create its own legislation to determine the preserved space in consolidated urban areas, as long as the minimum width of 15 meters. Deputies removed this limit. In other words, there will be no minimum footage.

Another amendment by the Senate that was rejected said that marginal strips of watercourses that had not been occupied by the enactment of the law would respect the same dimensions as rural areas . The deputies also overturned an excerpt that established that municipalities and the Federal District would submit information about the new preservation areas to the Ministry of the Environment, which should maintain a database accessible to the public.

The rapporteur in the Chamber, Darci de Matos (PSD-SC), stated that the text that returned from the Senate was inappropriate, “pre-determining a minimum width band, preventing the definition, by local governments, of bands in areas not yet consolidated as urban, and creating the obligation to inform the Ministry of the Environment what municipalities and the Federal District legislate.”

Under the current rules, the marginal strips considered areas of permanent preservation (APPs) vary from 30 to 500 meters, according to the width of the springs. In April of this year, the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) decided that these rules apply to both rural and urban areas.

Before the municipality creates the new law, the state councils must be heard. , municipal or district environment. The proposal also establishes that the definition of the protected area must follow the guidelines of the water resources, basin, drainage or basic sanitation plans, if any.

Still according to the rules of the proposal, the projects to be installed in urban permanent preservation areas must observe cases of public utility, social interest or low environmental impact. Places at risk of collapse cannot be occupied.

The text allows existing properties until the day 15 of April 2021 continue in this occupation range, as long as the owners comply with the environmental compensation requirement determined by the competent municipal body.

The proposal classifies a consolidated urban area as that included in the urban perimeter or in an urban area by master plan or by specific municipal law; that has a road system in place; which is organized into predominantly built blocks and lots and has predominantly urban use, characterized by the existence of residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, mixed or service-oriented buildings.

Deputy Rodrigo Agostinho ( PSB-SP) criticized the resumption of the Chamber’s text. “The Senate had established a balance allowing for the regularization of occupations and keeping the areas not yet occupied preserved,” he said. “The Chamber chose to do away with the permanent urban preservation areas. Thus, areas of springs, springs and watercourse margins can be occupied. Very bad.”

In his opinion, the the absence of a minimum size will allow the occupation of watershed areas, in water reservoirs, in water courses, including streams, medium and large rivers.

“This will allow the occupation of these areas , will make it possible for areas that are important for water production, areas subject to flooding, very sensitive areas, to be occupied”, he stressed.

“We understand that it was a mistake. The Senate text guaranteed preservation of areas that were not occupied, and allowed the municipalities to regularize the old occupations at their own discretion. We understand that what the Chamber did was a big mistake. The Senate text also guaranteed the minimum range of 28 meters, in the text of the Chamber there is not even the minimum range of 15 meters.”

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