A judge in Brazil issued a ruling [text, PDF, in Portuguese] Wednesday that temporarily blocks an executive order [press release, in Portuguese] from President Michel Temer [official website, in Portuguese] that would have opened large sections of the Amazon forest for mining. Temer’s order [materials, in Portuguese] would have allowed mining of gold, copper, iron and other minerals and metals in the Renca area of the Amazon, which covers more than 17,000 square miles and has been protected by an Act of Congress since 1984. The order was met with widespread criticism from conservationists and celebrities, including supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who has been an outspoken critic [Twitter post] of Amazon deforestation. Attorney General Grace Mendonça [official website, in Portuguese] has appealed the ruling.
Brazil has endured tumultuous times as former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for corruption [JURIST report] last year amidst a time of economic turmoil. In May the Brazilian Supreme Court authorized [JURIST report] a corruption probe into President Temer and his alleged involvement with the bribery of a potential witness in a major corruption case. A month earlier Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered investigations into eight cabinet ministers [JURIST report] and dozens of lawmakers who are allegedly linked to the country’s so-called “car wash” bribery scheme. The investigation was ordered on the tails of an anti-corruption measure that was passed last December by the Brazilian Lower Chamber of Deputies. “Operation Carwash” [JURIST report] allows individuals who are subject to prosecution to seek criminal consequences against their prosecutors and judges if the officials abuse their powers. “Operation Carwash” was passed as charges have been filed against some of Brazil’s most powerful politicians, including former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva [JURIST report].