On September 14, the Full Bench of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) began the decision on four unconstitutionality actions (Ações Diretas de Inconstitucionalidade or "ADIs") and a declaratory action of constitutionality (Ação Declaratória de Constitucionalidade or "ADC") regarding the current Forest Code, instituted by Federal Law No. 12,651/2012. After some oral arguments, the session was suspended indefinitely.
ADC No. 42 was filed by the Progressive Party (PP), and ADIs Nos. 4901, 4902, 4903, and 4937 were presented by the Attorney-General's Office and the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL). The ADIs discuss the validity of various provisions of the Forest Code, among which the following should be highlighted: (i) reduction in the mandatory Legal Reserve and Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs); (ii) offset of deforested Legal Reserve areas; and (iii) the possibility of amnesty for rural producers who illegally deforested until July 2008, including the creation of the Environmental Regularization Program.
Unfortunately, with the suspension of the decision, the legal uncertainty regarding the articles of the Forest Code that are being challenged remains, in addition to the fear of losing tools already implemented and that had massive adherence by landowners. This delay in deciding the ADIs also delays the regulation and implementation of other instruments provided for in the Forest Code, such as the Environmental Regularization Program and the Environmental Reserve Quota, since both are at issue in the ADIs.
Likewise, the Rural Environmental Registry, which was created by the Forest Code and has high adherence by landowners throughout Brazil, may suffer from a slowness greater than expected by the environmental agencies for validation of the registrations. This is because it is not known whether this instrument will remain valid and what rules will be applied to the APPs and Legal Reserve areas.
The judgment of the ADIs and the ADC is of paramount importance so that entrepreneurs and landowners have the necessary tranquility to run their businesses. With a conclusion on such controversy, there will be no doubt regarding the general rules applicable for the protection of vegetation, APPs, and Legal Reserve, provided for in the Forest Code. Businesses and landowners may be assured of the regularity of their situation or seek regularization through the mechanisms established by law.