STF overturns, in injunction, cut in national environmental council

Justice Rosa Weber, of the STF (Federal Supreme Court), through an injunction, overturned, this Friday (), the modification in Conama (National Council for the Environment) by Jair Bolsonaro and Ricardo Salles, former Minister of the Environment. With the change made in 2019, seats for civil entities were cut and the federal government gained greater presence and decision-making power within the important body. fundamental precept 623, Weber suspended the effectiveness of decree 9.806/2019 until the end of the judgment on the merits.

The progress of the process has been stopped at the STF since the beginning of March this year, when minister Nunes Marques, nominated by Bolsonaro for the seat on the Supreme Court, asked for views.

A Raquel Dodge, at the time head of the Attorney General’s Office, filed the lawsuit. members —among public entities and NGOs—, it now has . In addition to cutting civil society seats, ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and Ana (National Water Agency) were also excluded from the council. such as amicus curiae —entities present in the process to provide information on the case—, WWF-Brasil, Isa (Socio-environmental Institute), Transparency International, Climate Observatory, the Atlantic Forest Non-Governmental Organizations Network, and Conectas claim that there is an interest of the “current Federal Public Administration in unduly repressing the actions of civil society organizations and restricting social participation in public decisions”.

According to the entities, the modification in Conama , much contested from the moment it took place, caused a deep representative imbalance in the collegiate, “concentrating decision-making power, disproportionately, on the Federal Executive” and “destroyed the democratic nature of the Council, by putting an end to the election. tion to choose the representatives of the environmental entities”.

Instead of an election to choose the various entities that make up the council, the Bolsonaro government determined the holding of a draw to occupy the representative seats.

During the work at Conama after the change in composition, some decisions drew attention, due to the possible environmental impact they could cause. One of the most striking was the decision of Conama, chaired by Salles, to revoke resolutions 302/2002 and 303/2002.

The resolutions 302 and 302 directly affect APPs (Permanent Preservation Areas). While 96 concerns the edges of urban springs (such as the Billings Dam, in São Paulo), 302 deals with coastal strips , such as mangroves and salt marshes —both areas of great importance for preservation, due to the environmental services they provide.

The revocation benefited real estate developments close to beaches, known as “foot on the sand”.

At the beginning of this week, unanimously, the STF restored the standards for the protection of restingas, mangroves and urban springs.

Conama was implemented in 1984 and had an important voice in the elaboration and implementation of Brazilian environmental policy, helping to define norms for environmental licensing and pollution control, for example. Its main articulator was Paulo Nogueira Neto, creator of Brazilian environmental policy, who died in February this year.

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