May 16, 2021

The president of the Brazilian environmental agency resigns after polemic with Bolsonaro

The president of the Brazilian environmental agency resigns after polemic with Bolsonaro

The president of the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (Ibama), Suely Araújo, resigned today a day after the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, questioned her on social networks for the supposedly exaggerated value of a contract to rent vehicles for the organ.

Araújo, named in 2016 by the then president Michel Temer and who hoped to be replaced with the start of the new government on January 1, preferred to anticipate his departure after polemicizing on social networks with Bolsonaro and the new environment minister, Ricardo Salles, to whose portfolio the IBAMA is linked.

Bolsonaro had already announced the prosecutor Eduardo Fortunato Bim for the post, but his appointment had not yet been published and the date of transfer of duties had not been set.

Both the president and the environment minister questioned the high value of a contract for 28.7 million reais (about 7.8 million dollars) signed at the end of last year, shortly before Bolsonaro took office, to rent vehicles intended for the Institute's prosecutors.

"We are in an accelerated rhythm, quickly dismantling mountains of irregularities and abnormal situations, which are being checked and exposed," Bolsonaro said in a message on Twitter, commenting on a publication in which his minister questioned the regularity of the contract.

Until yesterday, Ibama, from the social networks, rejected any "suggestion" of irregularity and alleged that it was the hire of 393 vans "already adapted for inspection activities, forest fires and environmental emergencies."

He also said that the contract was valid for all Ibama offices in the 27 states of the country and that it also included "fuel, maintenance, insurance and replacement of vehicles every two years."

"The unfounded accusation shows the complete ignorance of the magnitude of the IBAMA and its functions, the value foreseen for the contract was initially much higher than that obtained in the tender, which met all the legal requirements," the official said.

In her letter of resignation, Suely Araújo said that it is a way to facilitate the start of the new administration and asked that it was clear that she had resigned and not that she had been replaced or dismissed.

The IBAMA is the body responsible for the granting of environmental licenses for projects of mining, oil companies or intensive agriculture that may threaten reserves or natural resources.

Since his election campaign, Bolsonaro has said he will not allow the delay in issuing environmental licenses to put at risk projects that can generate jobs and promote the country's development.


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