On June 5, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis, “IBAMA”) published Normative Ruling No. 15/2023, regulating the general preventive and remote embargo of areas with suppression of vegetation, forest exploration and irregular use of fire in indigenous lands and other public areas in Brazil’s Legal Amazon. The main legislative innovation is the ability to impose embargoes using remote technology and without the need to individualize violations and perpetrators. With this new regulation, an embargo can encompass several areas and properties at once.
In summary, deforested areas in indigenous lands in which activities are not carried out by indigenous peoples themselves, by public entities on behalf indigenous peoples, or those licensed by IBAMA, will be considered irregular—and, therefore, may be subject to preventive and remote embargo—until proven otherwise. For the cancellation of embargoes in such areas, the National Indigenous Foundation (Fundação Nacional dos Povos Indígenas, “FUNAI”) must assess whether the activities performed are authorized or not.
As for other public lands located in the Legal Amazon, areas deforested after July 22, 2008, which are not authorized, licensed, or regularized, will be considered illegal until confirmed otherwise. In this case, the cancellation of the embargo will depend on an interested party demonstrating the regularity of the area.
Regardless of the type of embargoed area—indigenous lands or public lands inside the Legal Amazon—whenever it is possible to individualize violations, the respective area must be removed from the general preventive embargo and reviewed in a separate administrative proceeding to be initiated against the perpetrator.
The Normative Ruling also establishes that, after the general preventive embargo, IBAMA may issue notifications requiring the removal of domestic and/or exotic animals identified in the area, which may be seized if not removed within the established deadline. While accountability for environmental infractions committed in such areas are not individualized, any administrative acts practiced by IBAMA shall be published in the Federal Official Journal for the knowledge of interested parties, and the embargoes will be included in IBAMA’s public list of embargoed areas.