Last week, leaders of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization’s eight member nations—Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela—convened for a two-day summit to discuss introducing new measures to protect the Amazon rain forest (AP News).
Last Wednesday, Brazil’s environmental agency, Ibama, refused to grant a license to the state-run oil company Petrobras to drill at the mouth of the Amazon River (AP News).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Brazilian mining company Vale for allegedly “making false and misleading claims about the safety of its dams” leading up to the January 2019 collapse of the Brumadinho dam (SEC). The collapse killed 270 people, released close to 12 million cubic tons of mining waste, and caused incalculable social and environmental damage. Vale has since spent billions on compensation and safety improvements, and has lost more than $4 billion in market capitalization.
After word of a gold discovery on the Madeira River in the Brazilian Amazon in November, hundreds of gold miners flocked to the river. For over two weeks, over 400 barges floated the river about 70 miles from Manaus, the capital of the Amazonas state, before officials made moves to crack down on the illegal gold dredging (AP News).
AllRise, an environmental litigation group, submitted a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to be held criminally accountable for his actions in the Amazon (AP News). The 248-page petition argues the “mass deforestation” occurring in the Amazon under his administration is harming local communities, leading to loss of life, and is detrimental to the regional and global communities.
On June 23, Brazil’s Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, resigned. This news comes one month after the country’s Supreme Court authorized an investigation against Salles, alleging he had obstructed a federal investigation into illegal logging in the Amazon. He will be replaced by Secretary for the Amazon Joaquim Alvaro Pereira Leite (CNN).
On May 12, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies passed a bill to expedite infrastructure, mining, and agricultural projects by relaxing existing environmental regulations associated with the permitting process.
President Emmanuel Macron has been vocal this week in his opposition to the impending trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Mercosur trade bloc, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The French President has refused to sign the agreement on the grounds that, if ratified, it would increase soy trade between the EU and Brazil, leading to increased deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, as land is cleared for commercial agricultural use.