Widely criticized, Brazil’s Environment Minister is loosening forest controls

Many in Brazil and abroad want Ricardo Salles removed as Brazil's Environment Minister. But he may well be untouchable within the Bolsonaro administration

Ricardo Salles talks to reporters during an event in the presidential palace. Photo: Anderson Riedel/PR

Back on August 6, 2020, the Brazilian Environment Institute (Ibama) lodged a request with the Air Force for aerial backup in an operation against environmental crimes. The plan was to fly indigenous leaders from the northern state of Pará to the capital, Brasília, where they would meet with Environment Minister Ricardo Salles to discuss measures to fight deforestation and foster sustainable growth in the Amazon basin. 

But the operation was canceled, and Air Forces planes were instead used to transport illegal wildcat miners, with whom Mr. Salles conversed behind closed doors.

This was not the first time that the...

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