A new law for the forests of São Paulo?Thursday March 8th, 2018
On Thursday (15.01.2015) was published by the São Paulo State Government the law 15 684, which provides for the Environmental Regularization Program (PRA) of rural properties and real estate, in addition to the message about the vetoes made by the Governor Geraldo Alckmin. This law comes from Bill No. 219/14, the state representatives Barros Munhoz (PSDB), Machado Campos (PTB), Estevam Galvão (DEM), Itamar Borges (PMDB), José Bittencourt (PSD) and Roberto Morais (PPS) .
It is important to remember that this project was conducted at an accelerated rate in the state Legislative Assembly, with special rapporteurs and urgently. The few discussions with participation of civil society organizations just happened down the stretch.
Although limited, this process of participation and mobilization was a positive balance. The various manifestations and proposals contributed to some improvements, avoiding major setbacks, although hardly have progress in the law. Even as pled legal certainty was not answered.
Basically, the law passed kept several of the Federal Law devices 12 651/2012(new Forest Code) of this law, since it determines that the Environmental Regularization Program should be implemented by an act of the Chief Executive (by decree, not law).
Among the vetoed points can be highlighted as very positive:
- Reversing the logic of the federal law on the distinction of permanent preservation areas that must be recovered and that may continue provided consolidated use by agricultural activities and infrastructure ( art. 23 and § 1, art. 26 ).
- The broad amnesty for offenses for previous deforestation to 2008, increasing the federal standard error ( art. 6 ).
- The lack of clear definition of minimum range for the recovery of riparian forests in the largest real estate ( item 1 of § 5 of Article 14. );
- The forecast of having to deploy new deforestation aquaculture, also contrary to federal law ( art. 18 ).
But still remained many points to problems: one is required to have a process on paper, unable to done only in digital form for each Plan Adjustment (§ 2 of art. 5). This will excessively burden the government and undermine the citizen service, since they are provided for more than 300,000 users joined the PRA in the state of São Paulo.
Another point is the paragraph 6 of art. 12, according to which the environmental body will automatically make the setting as Environmental Servitude and Environmental Reserve Quota (CRA) of excess vegetation to the percentage required as a legal reserve. Imposing in practice a decision should be voluntary on the part of the owner.
But there are even more serious problems. Disappeared mentions the Cerrado not be protected by older versions of the Forest Code, but there is still a great risk for this biome, with the exemption of reserves recovery. If there was an understanding that it is important to conserve and recover this biome could be done any command in this regard, clarifying a point of doubt in the Brazilian legislation.
The same can be said about the possibility of legal reserves of compensation out of state. The Forest Code so permits, but the critical environmental situation of São Paulo not. By omitting these two issues, the law leaves to the regulation, which does not contribute to environmental conservation, or for legal certainty or flexibility of administrative and judicial proceedings.
It was also maintained the forecast for regularization of conservation areas of use in cities ( art. 40 ), contrary to the prevailing jurisprudence on the subject.
Initially it must be accompanied by the response of the Assembly to vetoes. It is even possible rejection of these, which require an absolute majority of Members (Article 28 of the Constitution Paulista).
It is essential to monitor the regulation, either by decree or regulations of the Department of the Environment, in particular by defining criteria and procedures for understanding the recovery of reserves and APPs. Especially here should be considered the concept of critical watersheds, very deforested, which is also provided by Law 12,651 / 2012.
We need the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) to take effect, which requires political and administrative guidance, human and material resources, as well as a wide network of partnerships with different levels and areas of government and civil society.
It is also important to articulate effectively the CAR and the PRA with environmental licensing, including to facilitate the attendance of farmers who need to obtain permits.
The involvement of rural, governmental or non-extension, communication actions and involvement of farmers is the basis for an effective breakthrough in the sustainable management of natural resources in Sao Paulo.
It is necessary to start the effective use of economic instruments provided for in the support program and encouraging the conservation of the environment, giving priority to family farming ( arts. 37, 38 and 39 ). For this, a broad discussion with the various interested sectors should be initiated in an integrated manner with other policies, such as climate change, and coordinated with national actions, regional and municipal.
Another step is to start the discussion of a specific law for urban PPAs, with all the implications for the quality of life in cities. Therefore, the involvement of various levels of participation, new and existing need, as collective, advice, especially the Basin Committees and the State Environmental Council, the CONSEMA, absent in the discussions here.
With the worsening water crisis is evident the importance of good public policy and action of all for the management of natural resources. See that what has been achieved so far with all this mobilization and negotiation was just avoid setbacks, should not be discouraged, but to stimulate the search for effective advances.
Are we still a lot to do, to contribute to the improvement of environmental conditions not only in São Paulo, but from here.
* Roberto Resende is Agronomist, Master in Environmental Science and President of the NGO Green Initiative.