St. Paul’s deputies may approve law that exacerbates water crisisMonday December 8th, 2014
Mario Mantovani – Director of Public Policy at the SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation*
Amid the greatest water crisis in the history of Sao Paulo, a group of Members seeking approval in the Legislative Assembly bill that regulates deforestation and decreases the Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs) as riparian forests, accentuating the already critical situation will the springs and river basins of the state. The PL 219/2014 provides for the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA), which is equivalent to São Paulo regulations to implement the new Brazilian Forest Code (Forestry Law 12,651 / 12). The project is in an emergency and could be voted on Tuesday (9/12).
It is known that the setbacks practiced in the Brazilian environmental legislation, with the change of the Forest Code, reduced protection of springs and APPs of rivers and springs, aggravating the problems that lead to water shortages. Unfortunately, the project now produced by São Paulo deputies not only reinforces these points, but also plays mistakes and setbacks gives even more damaging than those approved in the federal standard.
Among the most serious problems for this regulatory federal law highlights the fact that the new Forest Code is Direct Action object of unconstitutionality filed by the Federal Public Ministry, on three issues that are still being tried and that have been repeated in the project São Paulo law. The regulation could be made by State Decree, after discussion with the society in the State Councils for the Environment and Water Resources, involving a broad and participatory technical institutions, the scientific community, management agencies, farmers, associations, organizations environmental protection and diffuse interests, as well as citizens in general.
If nothing else, the alleged Paulista regulation of new Brazilian Forest Code takes the initiative of the legislature, with a PL filed with the Assembly in March, during the electoral process, which is already being put to a vote in nine months. A true record of agility and processing, the design allows the environmental recovery is performed in the biomes outside the territorial limits of the State of São Paulo. Thus, large rural properties could make compensation to the legal reserve in other states, “exporting” the São Paulo forests and threatening the restoration and conservation of vegetation priority regions for environmental remediation, such as those located in areas of water stress.
The most worrying is the forecast decrease in recovery ranges of riparian forests in PPAs, reaching meager 5 meters, completely ignoring the existing state standards, such as restoring resolution that is scientifically recognized in the country.
The Watershed of the Cantareira System and the Paraíba do Sul, which have huge deforested areas (which favors the silting of reservoirs and rivers), would be further impaired. This is because the proposed project considers unproductive pastures and recreational farms as consolidated uses and thus relieved the recovery of riparian forests in films and technical criteria, such as those that were determined in the 1965 Forest Code and that would result in important environmental services for the water conservation.
Faced with this serious threat, it is unfortunate the distance of parliamentarians to the needs of society, which has already suffered from a lack of water. When proposing the project, disregarded the weather alerts, the Academy and citizens in favor of interests of specific groups, linked to an outdated model of agribusiness, and those who did not comply with the legislation and now want to continue in São Paul, sought amnesty with the approval of the current Forest Code in Brasilia.
The State of São Paulo – which has always been a reference in science, technology and innovation in the environmental area, and what we may call the good agribusiness – has promoted the recovery of APPs on the banks of rivers and water sources, restoring watersheds in various regions and seeking laws positive and boosters for those who conserve and seek sustainability. This is why St. Paul can not admit throwback size.
We can not watch another blow. The company sends a message to state legislators: do not vote the PL 219, which decreases the protection and recovery of APPs, essential to the springs, rivers and springs, and aggravates the water crisis in São Paulo. Without forest there is no water. (Originally published in UOL).