Print version ISSN 0103-4979
FEARNSIDE, Philip Martin and LAURANCE, William Frederick. Infrastructure in Amazonia: lessons from Brazil's pluri-annual plans. Cad. CRH [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.64, pp.87-98. ISSN 0103-4979. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-49792012000100007.
Brazil's environmental impact assessment system is not yet capable of coping with the challenge presented by the pluri-annual plans that have been the means of organizing government priorities since 1996. It is hoped that this challenge results in strengthening of the system. Generic problems with the licensing process include stimulation of a lobby in favor of construction before decisions are made on the advisability of the projects, the "dragging effect" of third parties whereby economic activity is attracted to the infrastructure but escapes the environmental impact assessment system, a tendency for consulting firms to produce favorable reports, a bureaucratic emphasis on the existence of steps such as the submission of reports and the holding of public hearings without regard to the content of what is said, and the inability to take account of the chain of events unleashed when a given project is undertaken. The example of the pluri-annual plans from Brazil in Action (1996-1999) up to the current PAC-2 [Program for the Acceleration of Growth-2] (2012-2015) makes clear the need to rethink how major development decisions are made, and to reconsider a number of the plan's component projects.
Keywords : Amazonia; deforestation; environmental impact; highways.