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Brazil minister calls for environmental deregulation while public distracted by Covid-19

Reuters reports:

Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles called on the government to push through further deregulation of environmental policy while people are distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, in a video the Supreme Court ordered released on Friday.

The video of a ministers’ meeting surfaced in an investigation of whether President Jair Bolsonaro interfered in appointing leaders of the federal police for personal gain.

During the meeting, other ministers spoke, including Salles, with environmental groups saying his remarks prove that the Bolsonaro government is systematically seeking to dismantle environmental protections.

“We need to make an effort while we are in this calm moment in terms of press coverage, because they are only talking about COVID, and push through and change all the rules and simplify norms,” Salles said in the video.

Deforestation hit an 11-year high last year and has increased 55% in the first four months of the year, compared to a year ago, with environmentalists blaming Bolsonaro’s policies. [Continue reading…]

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