By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff is expected to decide today, Thursday, if she is to veto – fully or in part – the controversial Forestry Code. On Wednesday she led ongoing discussions over the final draft of the text, which has already undergone a series of amendments, alongside members of her cabinet, including Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira.

Protesters outside Planalto, Brazil News
Protesters in Brasília on Wednesday remind Dilma of the importance of her decision over the Forestry Code, which comes just before the UN's Rio+20 Conference in June, photo by Valter Campanato/ABr.

The president’s decision must be made public on Friday, Minister for Institutional Relations Ideli Salvatti told O Globo newspaper.

Few seem to be considering the scenario where Rousseff would approve the text as it stands; commentators are instead speculating over the extent to which the text will be vetoed and, if not approved, the next steps for the Forestry Code. One option includes the signing into law of a temporary version of the legislation that can be reviewed later.

A number of senators have already prepared an alternative text, which is said to have been agreed with environmentalists. The current draft originated in the Chamber of Deputies in 1999.

The revision of the 1965 legislation has generated fierce debate between environmentalists, farmers and land owners, particularly as the new code grants an amnesty to illegal deforestation before 2008.

President Rousseff will be acutely aware how the decision on this particular legislation, and any potential ramifications, could come into conflict with Brazil’s hosting of the UN’s upcoming Rio+20 summit on sustainable development.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


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