Disaster foretold for the extreme south, south and southwest of the state of Bahia
Governor Jacques Wagner and Environment Secretary Eugênio Spengler are preparing to give the people of the extreme south, south and southwest regions of the state of Bahia a SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PRESENT on December 21. The news has been leaked that regardless of the shortcomings of the corresponding EIA/RIMA (Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Impact Report), authorization will be granted for the expansion planned by Veracel Celulose. Although the EIA/RIMA contains numerous errors, this will pose no impediment. Although the local population has voiced a resounding NO to the company’s expansion plans at public hearings, all that is needed is the signature of Mr. Eugênio Spengler
Countless errors, ranging from spelling and grammatical to methodological and conceptual, characterize the so-called Veracel II RIMA. The use of simple language required for the drafting of these reports seems to have been used to justify omissions, serious inaccuracies, and vague and generic terminology. More than 100 pages are devoted to the analysis of tables and figures referring to data on municipalities in the project’s area of influence. The technical specialists deliberately omit an analysis of the project itself and its relations with the surrounding area and instead present lists of agricultural, demographic and educational data for the 17 municipalities that comprise the direct area of influence of the project. It is only at the end of the report, in the last 25 pages, that they provide a brief and sketchy description of the project’s impacts and a few mitigation measures.
The clearly propagandistic style of the report is striking. For example, phrases like “Veracel uses environmentally friendly technology” or “the sustainability of the enterprise” are scattered throughout the report, to the point where this environmental impact report sounds more like the company’s annual sustainability report or an elaborate piece of marketing.
As a result, the fate of the area’s small farmers, landless rural workers, traditional communities, etc. has now been sealed. Ongoing conflicts and those that will undoubtedly erupt are completely ignored. We are destined to continue on the path determined by a “development” model based on the exploitation of natural resources and people, compromising food security and denying the human rights of groups and communities. For the government of the state of Bahia, all that matters is guaranteeing profits for a small group of shareholders, including BNDES, Aracruz Celulose (now Fibria) and Stora Enso!
8 December 2011
Fórum Sócioambiental do Extremo Sul, Sul e Sudoeste da Bahía (Socio-Environmental Forum of the Extreme South, South and Southwest of the State of Bahia)