University of São Paulo: Bill provides for withdrawal of sanitation projects from environmental licensing

Water supply and sewage systems are activities potentially subject to environmental licensing, as, despite their importance to the environment and health, they can also generate environmental impacts. Bill 2,159, of 2021 , to establish the General Environmental Licensing Law, provides for the exclusion of water supply and sanitary sewage projects from the licensing list.

In an interview with Jornal da USP in Ar 1st Edition , Izabel Freitas Brandão, a master’s student at the Graduate Program in Civil Engineering at the USP Polytechnic School (Poli), explained that the environmental licensing project “is in the Senate and provides for the exclusion of the license system for water supply, sanitary sewage and licensing as a whole, regardless of size and without justification for exclusion”.

The researcher also highlights that “legislators started from a premise that, as this project is so necessary, it would need to be accelerated”. This is because they believe that environmental licensing is one more bureaucracy that impedes national development.

“Licensing is a tool that has the ability to plan, to improve the way we design our projects.” She goes on to explain that this simplification “removes steps and procedures that would be very important for proper planning”.

In this sense, releasing water and sewage projects from environmental licensing can generate a lack of control of the impacts on water resources and consequences in the legal scope, with the judicialization of works and environmental degradation. “What we are seeing start to happen in Brazil in the final stage of simplification is the non-existence of licensing”, emphasizes Izabel.

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