Since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva returned to office on Jan. 1, Brazil's Institute of the Environment (Ibama) increased by almost 90% the fines imposed on trespassers of environmental rules, when compared to the last year of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, it was reported.
The agency imposed 6,140 infractions on individuals and legal entities, representing a total of R$1.591 billion in fines (US$322 million), US$153 million more than in the first four months of 2022 when nearly 3,950 sanctions were issued. In 2021, R$550 million (US$112 million) in fines, and in 2019 R$924 million (US$186 million) were imposed.
The largest sanction of this 2023 corresponds to 15.5 million reais (US$ 3.04 million) to the railway company Rumo Malha Oest, of the Cosa group, owned by businessman Rubens Ometto, one of the most important financiers of electoral campaigns in 2022, according to the newspaper O Globo.
Logging in the Brazilian Amazon reached its highest levels in the last fifteen years, particularly under Bolsonaro, who was accused of collusion with large cattle ranchers and farmers responsible for this deforestation.
In Bolsonaro's first three years in office, some 34,000 square kilometers of rainforest were deforested, which led to unanimous condemnation by the international community, which opted to suspend the financing of the Amazon Fund, a mechanism financed especially by Norway and Germany.
Since Lula's return, Norway announced that this fund was back in operation. It will also include financing from the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Lula earlier this month in London during the president's trip to attend the coronation of Charles III.
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