The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) issued a record-breaking number of environmental licenses in 2005: 237, 15 more than in 2004, according to the Institute’s director of Licensing and Environmental Quality, Luiz Felippe Kunz.
Among the projects that obtained licenses are highway paving and the construction of hydroelectric plants.
Kunz explained that there are three types of licenses: Advance licenses certify the viability of projects, installation licenses authorize the start of construction, and operating licenses are conceded when the project is ready and able to function.
Kunz also pointed out that, despite the increase in the number of licenses issued, the Institute continues to exercise care in authorizing projects.
Environmental licenses were denied last year to various projects, such as the Ipoeiras Hydroelectric Plant, on the Tocantins River. According to the director, this project could cause irreversible damage to 180 fish species.
"IBAMA concluded that it was environmentally unfeasible, on the grounds that it would interfere with an important spawning bed in one section of the river."
Another important project denied an environmental license was shallow water petroleum production off the coasts of Espírito Santo and Bahia.