Ibama’s superintendent of Bahia, Rodrigo Alves, overturned a fine and lifted the embargo on work on a retaining wall being erected on the strip of sand near a resort in Praia do Forte on the state’s north coast.
The case was revealed this Thursday (19) by the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo”. Alves was appointed by Minister Ricardo Salles in June last year and canceled a R $ 7.5 million fine imposed by Ibama technicians on Tivoli Ecoresort, one of the most luxurious in the village.
The resort began building a stone and steel frame retaining wall to contain the tide. Before that, there was a wooden holder on the construction site.
The area as well as much of the north coast of Bahia is known as a spawning point for sea turtles.
Ibama technicians imposed the fine and suspended the work in July this year after a technical visit on site. However, three months later, Alves suspended the fine and opposed the embargo on work.
In a note, Ibama reported that the plant has an environmental permit issued by the city of Mata de São João and that the retaining wall will be built within the boundaries of the hotel grounds, which have operated in the region for three decades.
He also said that “Ibama’s tax measures on work approved by other federal agencies must be within the legal limit” and that several precedents exist in this regard.
With this in mind, Ibama explains that it sees low-potential work as harmful to the environment and local. And he said if it is believed that there is an alleged defect in the licensing process it should be the subject of a lawsuit.
The Federal Ministry is monitoring the case. The work remains blocked because it was also embargoed by the SPU (Union Heritage Superintendence).
The Tivoli Hotel said in a statement that the work is being carried out within the hotel grounds and is aimed at containing the advance of the sea.
The government of Ricardo Salles, a minister who was appointed to the environmental portfolio by President Jair Bolsonaro (without party), was shaped by an attempt to relax environmental regulations and has been criticized by environmentalists.
In September this year, Conama (National Council for the Environment) approved the repeal of rules setting criteria for the conservation of coastal areas from mangroves and residual gas. However, the decision was overturned by an injunction from the Supreme Court.