Just weeks ago, the Chilean government snubbed an iron mine to rescue endangered penguins. Now, more mining projects are being placed on the back burner. Brazilian judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo halted a mining effort that would’ve destroyed 17,700 square miles of the Amazon rainforest.
The ruling came after the government sought to respond to an international outcry by issuing an updated version of the Renca decree that more broadly outlined steps to mitigate environmental damage, safeguard the rights of indigenous communities and retain protected areas.
Behind the initial plan is Brazilian President Michel Temer, a controversial leader who has narrowly escaped corruption charges. Since coming into power, Temer has slashed budgets meant to protect the environment and indigenous communities. As the Brazilian government is working on appealing a decision against Judge Spanholo’s ruling, activists have little time to strike back.
“The suspension of President Temer’s unilateral decree with its severe threats to vast Amazonian forest offers a welcome and temporary reprieve. Today’s ruling upholds constitutional guarantees and puts the brakes on this drastic regression, but is ultimately vulnerable to being overruled by higher courts.”
The Amazon may not be as appealing as Chilean penguins, but remains equally as valuable as an environmental resource.