For over a decade now Brazil has been trying to pass a new Land Use Law. Land Use bills have been bogged down in Congress for 13 years, in fact.
Last night, after many hours of heated discussion, the Chamber of Deputies approved a new Land Use Law, the Forest Code (Código Florestal) with the votes of the rural caucus, who are or represent landowners.
But the final text of the bill was very different from what the administration Dilma Rousseff and Brazilian environmental activists had in mind.
President Rousseff has repeatedly stated, and been seconded on numerous occasions by administration spokespersons from the cabinet level on down, that the government will not pardon deforestation that took place in the past and will insist that destroyed areas be replanted and recovered.
In other words, no amnesty for the perpetrators of deforestation, strict rules protecting vulnerable areas, such as river banks, and a balance between the demands of production and preservation of natural resources.
The administration was working to have the Chamber of Deputies approve a Forest Code similar to the one approved by the Senate at the end of last year.
However, by a vote of 274 to 184, with 2 abstentions, the lower house approved a bill with many changes to the Senate bill, changes contrary to what the administration and environmentalists wanted.