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Power MP-RO recommends veto to ecological zoning changes and experts celebrate

The Complementary Law Project No. 085 proposes changes to the State's Socioeconomic-Ecological Zoning (ZSEE-RO) (Sedam-RO)

Iury Lima – from Cenarium

VILHENA (RO) – Specialists celebrated, in an interview to CENARIUM, this Monday, 18th, the recommendation of the Public Ministry of Rondônia (MP-RO) so that the state government does not sanction or veto the Complementary Law Project # 085, which proposes changes in the State’s Socioeconomic-Ecological Zoning (ZSEE-RO), threatening the advance of environmental preservation in the territory of the Federal Unit.

“The MP-RO has signed this commitment against the actions that the agribusiness capital, through the State, has intensified against the environment in Rondônia”, said the public network teacher and researcher at the Federal University of Rondônia (Unir), Amanda Michalski.

“I am happy because the Public Ministry is attentive and vigilant. The Legislative Assembly, for quite some time now, has been promoting a series of attacks aimed at trying to legitimize land grabbing and reduce the territories considered protected by the State”, said Edjales Benicio, technologist in Environmental Management and counselor of the Kanindé Association for Ethnoenvironmental Defense.

The specialist and environmental activist also says that the Legislative Assembly of Rondônia (ALE-RO) “has been, in a very categorical way, trying to end what there is of legal framework related to conservation and environmental preservation policies in the state”. “It’s a good thing that the Judiciary has been making coherent decisions”, he added.

For the MP, the document provides for the possibility of exploitation in Conservation Units and indigenous lands (Edjales Benicio/Reproduction)

The recommendation

According to the Public Ministry of Rondonia, “the normative text threatens to weaken mechanisms of environmental protection in the state, providing the possibility, for example, of exploration in Conservation Units (UCs) and Indigenous Lands (TIs), among other controversial points.

To CENARIUM, the agency said that the supplementary bill, prepared under the pretext of establishing a balance between environmental protection and land use and occupation, is in fact “another attempt to restrict the existing rules on protection and limit the duty of the Public Authority in the enforcement of ecological protection.

The MP also says that the project, if sanctioned, “may legitimize the existing irregular occupations in areas of special environmental protection”, as agreed by environmental specialists and activists Amanda Michalski and Edjales Benicio.

“Rondônia is in the process of forced reorganization that exposes the orchestrated action of agents and subjects linked to agribusiness through the expansion of the agricultural frontier that neglects and expropriates indigenous people and traditional communities of the countryside, forest, water and city”, said Michalski.

Public school teacher, activist and researcher at the Federal University of Rondônia (Unir), Amanda Michalski blames the agricultural expansion for the accumulation of environmental setbacks (Reproduction/Personal collection)

The researcher evaluates that the attempt to institutionalize the modification of the ecological zoning is totally related to the process known as “Land Rush” in the Amazon. “The world land market presents a dynamic marked by expulsion processes. The commodification of land, as well as of nature, intensifies this race, as does the high number of agrarian conflicts”, she detailed.

Edjales Benicio, technologist in Environmental Management and counselor of the Kanindé Association for Ethnoenvironmental Defense.

“In my opinion, this law that changed the zoning is absurd. I agree with the Public Prosecutor’s Office when it says that there was no publicity or disclosure of the studies. And the studies that I had access to, promoted by the State Secretary of Environmental Development, Sedam-RO, are very weak. Sedam’s studies are practically to legitimize criminal invasions”, denounced the Environmental Management Technologist.

“When you deal with a macro planning instrument, which is an extremely technical piece of work, it needs to be very well grounded for any alteration. So, to give you an idea, in the Assembly’s public hearing, they only presented maps, without any socio-environmental and socio-economic study. An irresponsible action”, he highlighted.

The approval

Authored by the governor of Rondônia, Colonel Marcos Rocha (in transition for União Brasil), and with amendments by state deputies, PLC 085 was approved in the ALE-RO on September 28, in a hurry, after a public hearing marked by the massive presence of ruralists in Porto Velho.

Excerpt from PLC no. 085/2020. (reproduction/ALE-RO)

Zoning is an instrument to establish, through techniques and planning, guidelines for territorial management that enable the creation and implementation of public policies, sustainable development, and licensing of environmental activities.

In Rondônia, it is divided into three macro-zones: one for agriculture; a second, of transition, between the first and the last (where extractive and low carbon techniques are implemented), and the third, formed by protected areas. However, among the alterations is the forecast of destining deforested areas for agricultural expansion instead of reforestation.

Judicialization

For the counselor of Kanindé, this should be yet another clash between environmentalists and the Judiciary against the state Executive and Legislative branches. “Unfortunately, I am skeptical and I think that the state government will not heed the MP’s recommendations. And it will have to be one more lawsuit that will take years and the damage will remain, generating perhaps even irreversible damage to biodiversity”, he pointed out.

Amanda Michalski also condemns the so-called “mobilization of the border”, which, according to her, feeds environmental setbacks in Rondônia. “It is a movement orchestrated by agribusiness, which uses farmers as ‘pawns’ guided by the logic of archaic occupation and which pressures and threatens Amazonian peoples and communities”, she repudiated.

“These subjects used by agribusiness need to understand their role, of great importance against this devastating process that is directly linked to environmental crime, food insecurity, and conflicts in the countryside, forest, and water”, concluded the researcher.

Sedam evaluates the project

In response to CENARIUM, which questioned the position of the Chief Executive regarding the sanction or veto of the PLC, as recommended by the MP-RO, the Government of Rondônia said, through a note, that the document is undergoing analysis by the State Department of Environmental Development (Sedam-RO)

“Only after the end of this analysis will there be a conclusive opinion on the matter, after which the Executive Power will sanction or veto the project”, clarified the government note.