Farmland bill could speed Amazon deforestation

A controversial bill that reduces the amount of land Brazilian farmers must preserve as forest, a measure activists say will hasten Amazon deforestation, has been passed by the country’s Senate. Tree-clearance rates in the Amazon are at their lowest rates since 1988, but supporters of the legislation say the country needs land for food production.

In recent years, Brazil has opened up new Amazon mines and is spending tens of billions of dollars to build huge hydroelectric dams in the Amazon to harness the electricity-producing potential of rainforest rivers. Risks associated with Brazil’s ambitions to become a global oil power were laid bare in November when a Chevron Corp. well off Rio de Janeiro leaked 2,400 barrels of oil into the ocean.

Read more on: The Wall Street Journal and BBC

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