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Instituto Socioambiental, Abrampa & Greenpeace Brasil v. Ibama and the Federal Union

Jurisdiction: 7th Federal Environmental and Agrarian Court of the Judiciary Section of Amazonas

Side A: Greenpeace Brasil (Ngo)

Side A: Associação Brasileira dos Membros do Ministério Público de Meio Ambiente (ABRAMPA (Ngo)

Side A: Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) (Ngo)

Side B: Brazil (Government)

Core objectives: Reversal of an act issued by the federal environmental agency that eased requirements for the exportation of timber.

Three NGOs filed a lawsuit with the main objective of declaring null and void the decision of the president of the federal environmental agency (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources – IBAMA) that allowed the export of native wood without government oversight, violating the special legislation which establishes this type of state control, in addition to determining that the federal government is prevented from adopting decisions of similar content.

To provide context for their claim, the applicants highlighted the role of the Amazon Forest in maintaining the ecological and climatic balance, as well as the scenario of significant increase in the rates of illegal deforestation in the Amazon, followed by the deconstruction of public environmental policies, especially from 2019. The applicants also warn of the dangers of the emergence of several epidemics and proliferation of viruses (including Coronavirus) due to the ecological imbalance caused by deforestation.

The case is based on federal legislation and constitutional rights, especially: (i) the Union's competence to protect the environment (articles 23, and 225, § 1); (ii) the national heritage category of the Amazon (article 225, § 4); (iii) the principle of defense of the environment as the guidance of the economic order (article 170, VI), applicable to the timber industry; (iv) the relationship between the protection of ecological balance as a fundamental right, the principle of human dignity and the right to life (article 5); (v) the need to implement the fundamental right to health (articles 6 and 196).

The plaintiffs demand for an injunction that declares: (i) null the decision of the president of IBAMA which effectively allowed the export of native wood without government oversight, at the request of logging companies; (ii) the restoration of the effects of the rule of the federal environmental agency (Normative Instruction 15 IBAMA of 2011), which provides for the enforceability of the authorization for the export of native wood; (iii) the determination that Federal Government refrains from issuing other normative act of similar content and which denies the prevalence of special legislation which already establishes with the state control of the export of native wood in the country.

The injunction was rejected by the lower court. Two requests for reconsideration of the decision were submitted, one by the plaintiffs and the other by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office as a representative of the law (custos legis).
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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