By Brasil Eco tur on 15 de Setembro de 2022
What has changed in the new Law of the Pantanal approved by Mato Grosso?

Last Tuesday (07/12) the deputies of the MT Legislative Assembly (ALMT) approved the Bill (PL) No. 561/2022 that amends and makes Law No. MT Pantanal”.

This new legislation passed makes land use more flexible within the plain, legally allowing:

Use of Permanent Protection Areas (APP) and Legal Reserve for cattle grazing, provided there is no suppression of vegetation
Facilitates pasture cleaning (eliminates the current list of species allowed for cleaning and leaves this up to SEMA authorization);
Allows the restoration of native grasses and legal reserve areas (allows action to prevent other plants from growing, favoring grasses for grazing)
good side and bad side
We made a detailed survey of the new law and listed the positive and negative points of this new legislation that awaits the sanction by the governor of MT


It makes more explicit the ban on large-scale crops on the plain, such as sugarcane and soy, intensive agricultural and livestock activities. Although the current law already restricts these uses, we see this reinforcement as positive;
It prohibits the installation of Small Hydroelectric Power Plants (SHPs), alcohol and sugar plants, charcoal plants and mining on the plain - with the exception of extraction of sand, clay, gravel and gravel, granted by the competent authority (line taken from the forest code) - list of social interest activities
Negative points:

Reduces APPs to the National Forest Code standard. In the Pantanal of MT they varied between 50 and 100 meters, now only 30 meters are required, even 50 in some cases;
Eliminates protection for ephemeral bodies of water (Rivers that exist only when heavy rains occur, which are called torrents);
Despite prohibiting activities such as planting soybeans and sugarcane mentioned above, other activities of medium and high degree of pollution and/or environmental degradation within the plain are not vetoed, opening a loophole in the law for these activities.
main concerns
After analyzing the text, we identified some points of concern regarding the new legislation:

How will this restoration of native grasses in a legal reserve be? No limits or details were placed on this activity, which in practice can lead to the use of techniques to suppress the growth of trees and shrubs within the legal reserve.
Rural tourism and ecotourism are now allowed in any areas, including legal reserves. The problem here is that there is no dimension of what these tourist activities are. They can be large tourist enterprises with high potential for impact.
Achievements of the mobilization of organizations and parliamentarians

The first text of the PL left open several points in the law that could be interpreted and used in a destructive way. We work in partnership with several organizations and at the end, some excerpts were included that improve the text and give greater security to the biome, such as:

Limitation of conversion of native to exotic grasses up to 40%, according to Embrapa's own recommendations (initial project did not have a limit);
Better definition of the type of infrastructure allowed, as in the first text this was very vague. New wording after amendment:
The installation of works and activities of public utility, social interest and those with the purpose of allowing preventive actions and fighting forest fires, will be authorized through environmental licensing, in the form of the regulation.

Final considerations
The bill, despite the few positive adjustments, continues to be a strong flexibilization of environmental protection in relation to the legislation currently in force, which is worrying when we observe the scenario of constant flexibilization that the Pantanal has been suffering.

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