Date of text
Sabin Center
Court name
7th Federal Environmental and Agrarian Court of the Judiciary Section of Amazonas
Reference number
ACP 1009665-60.2020.4.01.3200
Climate Change

Three NGOs filed a lawsuit with the main objective of declaring null and void the decision of the president of the federal environmental agency (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources – IBAMA) that allowed the export of native wood with less government oversight, allegedly violating special legislation, and a declaration that the federal government may not adopt such decisions.
The applicants highlighted the role of the Amazon Forest in maintaining the ecological and climatic balance, as well as a significant increase in the rates of illegal deforestation in the Amazon and destruction allegedly caused by public environmental policies. The applicants also contend that epidemics could be caused by deforestation and the ecological imbalance it precipitates.

The case is based on federal legislation and constitutional rights, especially: (i) the Union's competence to protect the environment (articles 23, and 225, § 1); (ii) the national heritage category of the Amazon (article 225, § 4); (iii) the principle of defense of the environment as the guidance of the economic order (article 170, VI), applicable to the timber industry; (iv) the relationship between the protection of ecological balance as a fundamental right, the principle of human dignity and the right to life (article 5); (v) the need to implement the fundamental right to health (articles 6 and 196).

The applicants seek injunction that declares: (i) null the decision of the president of IBAMA which to allow the export of native wood, allegedly without government oversight; (ii) the restoration of the effects of the rule of the federal environmental agency (Normative Instruction 15 IBAMA of 2011), which provides for the enforceability of the authorization for the export of native wood; (iii) that the Federal Government must refrain from issuing other normative acts of similar content.

The injunction was rejected by the lower court. Two requests for reconsideration of the decision were submitted, one by the plaintiffs and the other by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office as a representative of the law (custos legis).

Key environmental legal questions

Plaintiffs sought reversal of an act issued by the federal environmental agency that eased requirements for the exportation of timber.