Minister: New Bill Will Improve Licensing Process

Brazil's environmental licensing process will improve further after congress approves a new bill that aims to clear up legal doubts that often lead to court disputes, newspaper Valor Economico quoted environment minister Marina Silva as saying.

The bill would define more clearly the role of the federal, state and municipal governments. Legal questions often hamper new projects and in some cases delay licensing for several years.

Silva did not say when the new bill could be sent to congress or approved.

According to the minister, Brazil's licensing process has improved in recent years through the restructuring of federal environmental protection agency Ibama, which has included the hiring of new analysts.

This has not only improved the quality of analysis but also forced companies to improve project environmental impact studies, she said.

She added that Ibama has issued an average of 225 licenses a year, up from 150 in 2002 in the last government.

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