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Environmental compensation: forecast, methodology and application in the municipal environmental licensing of Linhares – Espírito Santo

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

SOARES, Claumir Costa [1], ASSIS, Guilherme Marchiori de [2]

SOARES, Claumir Costa. ASSIS, Guilherme Marchiori de. Environmental compensation: forecast, methodology and application in the municipal environmental licensing of Linhares – Espírito Santo.  Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year. 07, Ed. 10, Vol. 01, pp. 50-72. October 2022. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/law/environmental-compensation

ABSTRACT

This article aims to identify and report the legal and methodological forecast that the municipality of Linhares – ES has adopted in practice regarding the application of the Environmental Compensation Institute in the face of activities submitted to the administrative procedure of Municipal Environmental Licensing. Bearing in mind that it is the duty of the Public Power to defend, protect and conserve the environment, the question is: has the municipality of Linhares – ES been dealing with the issue of environmental compensation under the terms established by law? Thus, this article aims to verify, in more detail, how the municipality of Linhares – ES has dealt with the issue of Environmental Compensation within the scope of Environmental Licensing through its Municipal Environment Secretariat. Therefore, the production of this article had as a methodology the bibliographic research with consultations in books and legislation that deal with parameters and environmental measures convergent to the theme Environmental Compensation, from legal principles that allow the establishment of legal criteria to be followed by the Public Administration , in an attempt to provide everyone with an ecologically balanced and healthy environment. An exploratory research was also carried out in the Department of Environmental Licensing of the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment of Linhares – ES, in order to better understand the practice of the municipal licensing body in the face of the relevant environmental legislation. In the end, it was found that, although there are criteria and legal requirements to be met by the Public Administration for the proper and adequate application of the legal institute of Environmental Compensation, the methodology identified and applied in the licensing body of the Municipal Secretariat of Linhares – ES requires measures that brings it closer to the federal and municipal legal provision on the topic under discussion.

Keywords: Law, Environmental Licensing, Environmental Compensation.

1. INTRODUCTION

When it comes to legal protection, the Law has specific branches of application that seek to safeguard individual or collective rights. The balanced natural environment, for example, is legally regarded as a diffuse right, and it is the duty of public authorities, private initiative and all citizens to defend, protect and conserve it, so that the aspirations of the current and future generations are satisfied in a balanced way, without compromising the livelihood of this or future generations.

According to Haddad (2015, p. 84), the environment is composed of natural resources essential to the maintenance of life, but these are finite and, for this reason, become the object of a set of norms of Environmental Law. So, given the occurrence of certain effective or potentially environmentally degrading economic activities, it is necessary to comply with the norms, criteria and legal requirements that can delimit, delimit, guide, allow or restrict the installation and operation of these activities.

For reasons of environmental impacts or damage that certain activities may cause to the environment, these activities must be submitted to administrative procedures for controlling environmental impacts, which are called Environmental Licensing. Through these procedures, the activities must comply with legal rules for the installation, in order to ensure actions that promote or maintain an environmental balance through, for example, an Environmental Compensation.

Environmental Compensation, in turn, is an instrument legally provided for in environmental legislation, having, therefore, an appropriate moment of application, as well as a specific purpose for which it is proposed (BARROS et al., 2015).

In view of the above, and as it is the duty of the Public Power to defend, protect and conserve the environment, the question arises: has the municipality of Linhares-ES been dealing with the issue of Environmental Compensation under the terms established by law? Thus, this article aims to verify more closely how the municipality of Linhares – ES has dealt with the issue of Environmental Compensation within the scope of Environmental Licensing through its Municipal Environment Secretariat, which is responsible for examining, controlling and licensing environmental activities sought by the municipality in question.

For that, bibliographical and exploratory research was adopted as a methodology, being carried out through consultations in books and legislation that deal with parameters and environmental measures convergent to the theme of Environmental Compensation, based on legal principles that allow the establishment of legal criteria to to be followed by the Public Administration. In addition, the Department of Environmental Licensing of the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment of Linhares – ES was visited, in order to better understand the practice of the municipal licensing body in the face of the relevant environmental legislation.

2. BASIC PRINCIPLES IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

2.1 PRINCIPLES

Principles are elementary precepts considered as fundamental requirements in the solid formation of any basis for creating norms or rules that must be followed. More important than the norm itself, legal principles direct conduct, actions or legal operations within the structure of Law (SILVA, 2004, p. 1095).

2.2 PRINCIPLES IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

In the area of Environmental Law, there are variations of legal principles that already exist in the national legal system, being incorporated into it from international treaties (OLIVEIRA, 2017, p. 102). In this context, the principles are shown as the fundamental reason for which the Law is proposed and, likewise in its branches, the Environmental Law itself is based on legal principles, so that, in practice, diffuse and specific rights are also safeguarded collective (SILVA, 2004, p. 1095).

2.3 PRINCIPLE OF AN ECOLOGICALLY BALANCED ENVIRONMENT AS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

In the field of Environmental Law, the Principle of the Ecologically Balanced Environment, which is considered a fundamental right, is present in the Brazilian Federal Constitution and guides all production and interpretation of infraconstitutional legislation (OLIVEIRA, 2017, p. 102).

By legal understanding, Federal Law nº 6.938 of 1981 informs, in item I of its respective article 3, that the environment is “the set of conditions, laws, influences and interactions of a physical, chemical and biological nature, which allows, harbors and governs life in all its forms” (BRASIL, 1981). Furthermore, treating as a diffuse and fundamental right, the Federal Constitution of 1988, provides, in its respective article, as follows:

Art. 225. Todos têm direito ao meio ambiente ecologicamente equilibrado, bem de uso comum do povo e essencial à sadia qualidade de vida, impondo-se ao Poder Público e à coletividade o dever de defendê-lo e preservá-lo para aos presentes e futuras gerações (BRASIL, 1988).

As stated above, the Principle of an Ecologically Balanced Environment is expressly contained in Article 225 of the Federal Constitution, which was regulated by the Jurisdiction through Law No. 9,985 of July 18, 2000. This same Law establishes the National System of Nature Conservation Units, among other measures (BRASIL, 2000).

2.4 PRINCIPLE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Using an available resource to develop something in a sustainable way is to guarantee its use to satisfy current desires without compromising the existence of that same resource at another time or for future desires. Environmentally speaking, the available resource is a set of natural resources essential to the maintenance of life. Thus, the Principle of Sustainable Development refers to the fact that development must occur in such a way that the needs of one generation are met without compromising the ability of other generations to meet their respective needs (RODRIGUES, 2022, p. 171).

Corroborating the Principle of Sustainable Development, the Federal Constitution, with regard to the economic and financial order in Brazil, ensures the development of any economic activity based on free initiative and recognition of human work, so that the dignity of the human person is provided (BRASIL, 1988).

Since private interests should not prevail over collective interests, and that the legal entity and its interests should not be placed above the fundamental values and rights of the human person, the Federal Constitution itself provides, in its article 170, that the principle of “defending the environment, including through differentiated treatment according to the environmental impact of products and services and their elaboration and provision processes”, and, thus, pursuing the collective right to an ecologically balanced environment for present and future generations (ANGHER et al., 2018, p. 88).

2.5 PRINCIPLE OF PREVENTION

The Principle of Prevention, occurs in the sense that “without anticipatory action there is no way to avoid the occurrence of environmental damage. For this reason, environmental law is eminently preventive” (OLIVEIRA, 2017, p. 108).

Prevention is nothing more than the act of preventing, premeditating, having a prior disposition or an anticipated opinion (BUENO, 2007, p. 623). In this way, prevention aims to adopt measures that avoid the possibility of damage or environmental impacts previously known or identified in some situation, based on the scientific certainty that a certain negative result will happen (PINHEIRO, 2016, p. 1320).

The practice of preparing an Environmental Impact Study – EIA[3], or Environmental Licensing procedures are examples of the application of the Principle of Prevention (OLIVEIRA, 2017, p. 108).

2.6 PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

Precaution refers to the state of prudence, care or an anticipated caution (BUENO, 2007, p. 617).

“In the Precautionary Principle, what is configured is the absence of conclusive scientific information or research on the potential and effects of a given intervention on the environment…”, thus safeguarding better decision-making (OLIVEIRA, 2017, p. 109).

In this way, when there is no scientific certainty of the results that an action can generate, that is, of its risks or possible impacts, the precautionary principle must guarantee the taking of effective and efficient measures or measures to protect the environment as much as possible (PINHEIRO , 2016, p. 1320).

2.7 POLLUTTER PAYS PRINCIPLE

It is provided for in item VII of art. 4 of Federal Law No. 6,938 of 1981, that the National Environmental Policy will aim at “the imposition, on polluters and predators, of the obligation to recover and/or indemnify the damage caused, and on the user, of contribution for the use of environmental resources for economic purposes” (BRASIL, 1981).

From the perspective that economic activity can be developed freely, it is understood, by the Polluter Pays Principle, that the person responsible for the activity that degrades the environment must monetarily absorb the environmental impacts and damages resulting from the development of the economic activity itself. Thus, the person responsible for this activity “must compensate for the damage caused and also adopt measures to prevent it from occurring” (PINHEIRO, 2016, p. 1320).

In this sense, the “Polluter Pays Principle imposes on polluters both the duty to prevent the occurrence of environmental damage and the duty to fully repair any damage caused by their conduct”. It is clear, then, that said Principle emphasizes the duty to preserve the environment or repair any environmental damage arising from the practice of an activity (PINHEIRO, 2017, p. 18).

3. ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADING ACTIVITIES

Economic development and population growth in Brazil require technical and legal care aimed at the sustainable protection of environmental resources during the installation of certain projects.

In this scenario, according to the National Environmental Policy, item V article 3, environmental resources are “the atmosphere, inland, surface and underground waters, estuaries, the territorial sea, the soil, the subsoil, the elements of the biosphere, the fauna and flora” (BRASIL, 1981).

In this way, the materialization, operation and deactivation of certain undertakings require care and prevention and precautionary measures that seek to preserve environmental resources. In this sense, Federal Law No. 6,938 of 1981, which deals with the National Environmental Policy and other measures, provides, in its respective article, that:

Art. 10. A construção, instalação, ampliação e funcionamento de estabelecimentos e atividades utilizadores de recursos ambientais, efetiva ou potencialmente poluidores ou capazes, sob qualquer forma, de causar degradação ambiental dependerão de prévio licenciamento ambiental (BRASIL, 1981).

According to that same law, it is understood, in item III of article 2, that environmental degradation is the occurrence of any alteration contrary to the quality of the normal characteristics of the environment (BRASIL, 1981). Thus, by force of law, such establishments and activities of an enterprise must be submitted to Environmental Licensing procedures.

140 of 2011, the Environmental Licensing is the administrative procedure by which one seeks to “license activities or undertakings that use environmental resources, effectively or potentially polluting or capable, under any way, to cause environmental degradation” (BRASIL, 2011).

4. INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION

Seeking an ecologically balanced environment, during the Environmental Licensing procedure, preventive measures will be taken that will allow maintaining environmental quality or achieving an environmental balance in the face of environmental impacts generated by the installation of enterprises, establishments, services or activities.

Accordingly, Federal Law 9,985 of 2000, provides, in art. 36 and their respective paragraphs:

Art. 36. Nos casos de licenciamento ambiental de empreendimentos de significativo impacto ambiental, assim considerado pelo órgão ambiental competente, com fundamento em estudo de impacto ambiental e respectivo relatório – EIA/RIMA, o empreendedor é obrigado a apoiar a implantação e manutenção de unidade de conservação do Grupo de Proteção Integral, de acordo com o disposto neste artigo e no regulamento desta Lei.

§ 1º O montante de recursos a ser destinado pelo empreendedor para esta finalidade não pode ser inferior a meio por cento dos custos totais previstos para a implantação do empreendimento, sendo o percentual fixado pelo órgão ambiental licenciador, de acordo com o grau de impacto ambiental causado pelo empreendimento.

§ 2º Ao órgão ambiental licenciador compete definir as unidades de conservação a serem beneficiadas, considerando as propostas apresentadas no EIA/RIMA e ouvido o empreendedor, podendo inclusive ser contemplada a criação de novas unidades de conservação.

§ 3º Quando o empreendimento afetar unidade de conservação específica ou sua zona de amortecimento, o licenciamento a que se refere o caput deste artigo só poderá ser concedido mediante autorização do órgão responsável por sua administração, e a unidade afetada, mesmo que não pertencente ao Grupo de Proteção Integral, deverá ser uma das beneficiárias da compensação definida neste artigo (BRASIL, 2000).

It is verified, then, that there is a counterpart from the entrepreneur so that undertakings with significant environmental impacts can function or be executed. This counterpart is precisely a legal provision of the Environmental Compensation Institute. In this sense, the National Council for the Environment, through Conama Resolution No. 371 of 2006, brings the following consideration:

Considerando que a Compensação Ambiental decorre da obrigação de o empreendedor apoiar a implantação ou manutenção de unidades de conservação do Grupo de Proteção Integral, conforme menciona a Lei nº 9.985, de 2000, sendo que o montante de recursos a ser destinado para esta finalidade não pode ser inferior a meio por cento dos custos totais previstos para a implantação do empreendimento; (CONAMA, 2006).

Settling the legally appropriate moment for the application of the Environmental Compensation Institute, it can be seen that the Brazilian Legal Order pacified in Federal Decree No. 4,340 of 2002, which:

Art. 31.  Para os fins de fixação da compensação ambiental de que trata o art. 36 da Lei no 9.985, de 2000, o Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis – IBAMA estabelecerá o grau de impacto a partir de estudo prévio de impacto ambiental e respectivo relatório – EIA/RIMA, ocasião em que considerará, exclusivamente, os impactos ambientais negativos sobre o meio ambiente (BRASIL, 2002).

As explained above, it is seen that the environmental impact has a presumption that it is harmful to the environment. To better guide this understanding, the National Council for the Environment, through Conama Resolution No. 01 of 1986, which provides for the basic criteria and general guidelines for the Assessment of Environmental Impacts, reports that:

Art. 1º Para efeito desta Resolução considera-se impacto ambiental qualquer alteração das propriedades físicas, químicas e biológicas do meio ambiente, causada por qualquer forma de matéria ou energia resultante das atividades humanas que, direta ou indiretamente, afetam:

I – a saúde, a segurança e o bem-estar da população;

II – as atividades sociais e econômicas;

III – a biota;

IV – as condições estéticas e sanitárias do meio ambiente;

V – a qualidade dos recursos ambientais (CONAMA, 1986).

It urges to say that the Environmental Impact Study – EIA is the technical document that interrelates the physical, chemical, biological and social environments with the intended activities and interventions, so that it is possible to quantify and qualify the environmental impacts, to enable prevention of impacts through better decision-making by the licensing body (BARBOSA, 2014, p. 60).

It is also convenient to point out that, on the other hand, the Environmental Impact Report – RIMA[4], is a less technical language document produced from the Environmental Impact Study – EIA, with the purpose of facilitating the general public to understand the data and information on the environmental impacts generated by the activity to be licensed (PINHEIRO, 2017, p. 75). The licensing body, in this context, through the analysis of the Environmental Impact Study or the Environmental Impact Report, will have in hand the necessary requirement and the ideal moment established for the application of the legal institute “Environmental Compensation” provided for in the form of the law, in face of activity submitted to Environmental Licensing.

5. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF LINHARES – ES

Under the municipal legislation of the municipality of Linhares – ES, Environmental Compensation is considered an instrument of the Municipal Environmental Policy. In this way, Municipal Law nº 3.908/2019, which establishes the Municipal Environmental Code, is verified in §2 of its art. 5, that, if necessary, Environmental Compensation will be dealt with in specific municipal legislation in order to regulate it, observing the provisions of the Municipal Master Plan on the matter (LINHARES, 2019).

Still, for a better understanding of the said instrument, this same law explains, in item XIV of art. 6, that Environmental Compensation is nothing more than a “financial compensation mechanism for the effects of unmitigated environmental impacts that occurred during the implementation of projects, identified in the environmental licensing process” (LINHARES, 2019).

In the meantime, the Municipal Environmental Policy itself, Law 3.908/2019, declares, in item XXVII of its respective art. 9, that the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment has the attribution of demanding Environmental Compensation (LINHARES, 2019).

Corroborating the thesis of “Environmental Compensation” as a financial compensation mechanism, this same Environmental Policy brings, in item VIII of art. 111, that the resources from “Environmental Compensation” will constitute the Municipal Environment Fund (LINHARES, 2019).

As pointed out in art. 117 of Municipal Law 3.908/2019, the enterprise will owe the “Environmental Compensation” to defray expenses for the creation or maintenance of Conservation Units, whenever there is a significant environmental impact or non-mitigating environmental impact, when implementing activities that degrade the environment (LINHARES, 2019).

In addition, in accordance with the Federal Legislation and bringing clarity to the specific purpose of the Institute of “Environmental Compensation” at the municipal level, the Municipal Environmental Policy of Linhares – ES, Law 3.908/2019, brings, in its respective article, what:

Art. 118. A aplicação dos recursos da compensação ambiental de que trata o art. 117, nas unidades de conservação, existentes ou a serem criadas, deve obedecer à seguinte ordem de prioridade:

I – Regularização fundiária e demarcação das terras;

II – Elaboração, revisão ou implantação de plano de manejo;

III – Aquisição de bens e serviços necessários à implantação, gestão, monitoramento e proteção da unidade, compreendendo sua área de amortecimento;

IV – Desenvolvimento de estudos necessários à criação de nova unidade de conservação;

V – Desenvolvimento de pesquisas necessárias para o manejo da unidade de conservação e área de amortecimento. (LINHARES, 2019).

The Municipal Environmental Code of Linhares-ES, Law nº 3.908/2019, in its art. 44 also provides that the city must institute three Conservation Units which are, respectively: the Area of Relevant Municipal Ecological Interest of Degredo; the Barra Seca Municipal Environmental Protection Area; and the Coastal Region Municipal Environmental Protection Area (LINHARES, 2019).

Furthermore, as an attribution of the Municipal Environment Secretariat of Linhares – ES, in view of art. 119 of Law 3908/2019 itself, it is the duty of the licensing body to assess the expected impact of installing an activity that degrades the environment and, given the significant degree of the impact analyzed, decide on the “Environmental Compensation” of fair financial value equivalent to the impact environmental damage caused by the activity submitted to the Environmental Licensing procedure (LINHARES, 2019).

Therefore, as stated in art. 124, the criteria for financially calculating the due “Environmental Compensation” must be provided by means of a Decree, observing the relevant legislation, such as Federal Decree No. 4.340/2002 itself (LINHARES, 2019).

However, for the effective Institute of “Environmental Compensation” to take place, it is necessary to observe some steps provided for in art. 121 of 3908/2019:

I – Definição do valor da compensação ambiental na emissão da Licença Municipal Prévia – LMP;

II – Apresentação pelo empreendedor e aprovação pelo órgão executor do programa de compensação ambiental e plano de aplicação financeira no processo de obtenção da Licença Municipal de Instalação – LMI;

III – Elaboração e assinatura de um termo de compromisso de aplicação da compensação ambiental, que deve integrar a própria Licença Municipal de Instalação – LMI;

IV – Início do pagamento da compensação ambiental deverá ocorrer até a emissão da Licença Municipal de Instalação – LMI, conforme o termo de compromisso (LINHARES, 2019).

Finally, as stated in art. 122 of the said law, for the purposes of proving the effective compliance with the “Environmental Compensation” applied to the applicant who submits a certain activity to the due administrative procedure of Environmental Licensing, it is necessary to present sufficient evidence attesting to its discharge with the demanding body or it will be submitted to the verification audit determined by the licensing environmental agency (LINHARES, 2019).

6. PRACTICE ADOPTED BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL LICENSING DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT SECRETARIAT OF LINHARES – ES REGARDING ENVIRONMENTAL COMPENSATION

Faced with the legal provision of the Institute of “Environmental Compensation” in the face of activities that are effective or potentially degrading to the environment, there was a need to seek information from technicians from the Municipal Environmental Secretariat of Linhares – ES, with regard to the dealings related to the Institute of “Environmental Compensation” due to Environmental Licensing procedures submitted to said municipal body.

Initially, it was verified that, currently, the municipality of Linhares – ES has a Municipal Environmental Code, published through Municipal Law nº 3.908/2019 and regulated by Municipal Decree nº 546/2020 (LINHARES, 2019; 2020).

The aforementioned Municipal Law 3.908/2019 and its respective regulatory decree, bring forecasts and regulations regarding Environmental Licensing procedures and, in view of this, the municipality of Linhares – ES has a specific multidisciplinary technical body to carry out the administrative procedures of Environmental Licensing referring to activities submitted to analysis by the municipality, which has been happening for approximately 10 years, for the issuance of preliminary environmental licenses, environmental installation licenses, environmental operation licenses or environmental regularization licenses.

Through complementary municipal technical norms, such as the normative instructions, which contain the framework of activities/undertakings due to the type, size and polluting potential, the intended installation, operation or environmental regularization activities are submitted to the technical staff of the Licensing department Environmental so that decisions are taken and specific control measures adopted for each type of intended activity based on the documentation presented by the applicant. Still in this context, if there is a need for additional documentation, this will be requested by the technical analyst during the technical assessment and, upon potential and effective environmental impacts generated by the projects submitted to the Environmental Licensing procedure, in view of the installation location, the licensing body makes considerations in order to “compensate” the mentioned impact in the future.

According to the municipal normative instructions, the activities described are classified according to criteria to delimit the small, medium and large size, in addition to the pre-definition of low, medium or high polluting potential due to the risk and the activity that is installed in the place. These are normative instructions nº 01, which brings the framework of activities submitted to the licensing procedure that follow in ordinary rite, defined for the most complex activities and of greater polluting potential; No. 02, which provides for the classification of activities subject to the licensing procedure that follow a simplified procedure, for simpler activities; and nº 03, which deals with the classification of activities classified in the environmental regularization procedure that follows in the licensing waiver rite.

In the context of environmental regularization, once the Environmental Licensing procedure is requested from the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment and Water Resources of Linhares – ES, the applicant presents specific administrative and technical documentation, environmental studies, environmental control plans and environmental control report , through which the technical analysts will initiate a technical diagnosis with subsequent inspection at the site of the activity to find out more information and proceed with the necessary comparisons, whether in the face of current technical standards or environmental impact matrices or even the “vision” of the analyst himself, to finally complete the identification of the risks and impacts presented by the activity submitted to the licensing procedure. From there, under technical analysis, risk mitigation measures and preventive technical conditions will be imposed for subsequent issuance of environmental licenses, as well as follow-up by inspections and complaints to monitor the licensed activity/enterprise.

Eventually, an activity can cause certain damages that are difficult to repair or that it is not possible to reverse them. In view of this, Environmental Compensations are requested in the form of a counterpart for the undertaking, so that the intended activity is carried out without major damage to the environment. These compensations are defined in the form of recovery actions for certain impacted areas or actions aimed at environmental education or some social purpose. They must be executed by the applicant for the Environmental Licensing of the intended activity.

However, within the scope of Municipal Environmental Licensing, efforts have always been made to determine actions for the recovery of areas, normally under a personal parameter of technical interpretation by the analyst, in the sense of requiring that at least twice as much of the area that will suffer be recovered in another location certain impact.

Thus, currently, the Environmental Compensations imposed are determined through a technical interpretation, given the absence of specific legislation that relates the type of impact with the type of environmental recovery. Therefore, who conducts the determination of Environmental Compensation is the technical analyst of Environmental Licensing who is under the responsibility of analyzing the process submitted to the Environmental Licensing procedure. This, in turn, observing the impact to be generated and the area that will suffer the impact, will conclude that it is necessary to request compensation for the undertaking.

Faced with this need, the technical environmental analyst proposes the application of an “Environmental Compensation” measure that will be materialized through a Plan for the Recovery of Degraded Areas – PRAD[5] and forwarded to the Department of Natural Resources – DRN[6], so that it is verified that the project submitted meets the requirements of Normative Instruction No. 04/2020 (LINHARES, 2020).

Further, when the requirements are fully met, the recovery proposal presented by the applicant for the respective Licensing procedure is considered approved. If necessary, during said analysis, locational alternatives may be requested and evaluation of the maintenance of recovery activity in the proposed areas, through periodic monitoring reports (LINHARES, 2020).

Since the municipality has not previously listed the types of area or which areas are subject to environmental recovery, the locations that will be submitted to the “Environmental Compensation” measures are usually chosen through adjustments between the developer and the municipality itself. In this scenario, the municipality, through the Department of Natural Resources, identifies the possible area subject to recovery and, together with the applicant for the environmental license, establishes that this area is the target of environmental recovery as a measure of “Environmental Compensation” of a given impact.

During the collection of information, permanent preservation areas are cited as being areas already submitted to the measure of “Environmental Compensation” for the recovery of degraded areas and, it appears that, due to the licensing of activities of land subdivision, extraction mineral, an activity installed in a Permanent Preservation Area, until the present date, 05 (five) to (10) ten “Environmental Compensations” have been carried out since the beginning of the Environmental Licensing activities at the Municipal Environment Department.

As pointed out on the institutional website, the Municipality of Linhares -ES confirms the occurrence of the Plan for the Recovery of Degraded Areas – PRAD, as a form of application of the “Environmental Compensation Institute” within the scope of Environmental Licensing by the Municipal Secretary of the Environment. In the meantime, the City Hall informs that “the project is carried out by a private company as payment of environmental compensation, referring to the environmental licensing process” as shown in figure 01 (FERREIRA, 2022).

Figure 01. Advertising present on the institutional page of the Municipality of Linhares – ES

Publicidade presente na página institucional da Prefeitura Municipal De Linhares - ES.
Source: Ferreira (2022).

At the place where the Plan for the Recovery of Degraded Areas – PRAD is carried out, there are signs indicating that this is a requirement as a form of Environmental Compensation in reference to the process opened with the Municipal Secretary of the Environment under number 24307/2014, as shown in the figures 02 and 03.

Figure 02. Sign indicating the licensing process, object of Environmental Compensation, name of the enterprise and the licensing public agency

Placa indicando o processo de licenciamento, objeto de Compensação Ambiental, nome do empreendimento e do órgão público licenciador.
Source: the author (2022).

Figure 03. Plaque at the site identifying the Municipal Department of the Environment, linked to the Municipality of Linhares – ES for the purpose of environmental recovery

Placa no local identificando a Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente, vinculado à Prefeitura Municipal de Linhares - ES com a finalidade de recuperação ambiental.
Source: the author (2022).

The website does not inform the occurrence of Conservation Units in the place of implementation of the Degraded Area Recovery Plan in question, as well as, in the region submitted to recovery, there are no signs that identify any Conservation Unit linked to this Environmental Compensation, which is object of the referred process SEMAM 24307/2014.

7. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The present work reported that, in the field of Environmental Law, there is a concern to protect natural resources through the operation of activities that exploit the environment.

In this context, based on legal principles, it was verified that Environmental Law provides for the legal institute of “Environmental Compensation” and that the specific environmental legislation delimits the form and purpose of application of this institute. Thus, according to federal legislation, it is during the Environmental Licensing procedure for activities that effectively or potentially degrade the environment, capable of causing impacts to natural resources, that a technical chamber will delimit the application of Environmental Compensation, calculating a financial value against the responsible for the activity. The federal law says that the environmental compensation will never be less than 0.5% (half a percent) of the total cost of implementing the enterprise submitted to the Environmental Licensing (BRASIL, 2000).

In view of the above, this article aimed to verify how the municipality of Linhares – ES has dealt with the issue of Environmental Compensation in the scope of Environmental Licensing through its Municipal Environment Secretariat, guided by the question: will the municipality of Linhares – Has ES been dealing with the issue of environmental compensation under the terms established by law? Being possible to verify that, in the scope of the Environmental Licensing in the Secretariat of Environment of Linhares – ES, it was not characterized the existence of technical chamber instituted to propose or define the due “Environmental Compensation” as it guides the Federal Law nº 9.985/2000 and the Federal Decree nº 4.340 of 2002. However, as verified in the Environmental Licensing department of this Secretariat, the technical environmental analyst conducting the process is the one who will identify the need and the form of application of the environmental compensation.

However, although there is a consensus between the federal and municipal legislation in the sense that the Environmental Compensation is, exclusively, a financial value destined specifically to support Conservation Units, the municipal licensing body of Linhares – ES has adopted the practice of requesting, during the Environmental Licensing procedure, the adoption of a degraded area recovery measure as a form of environmental compensation, whose recovery will be implemented in random areas that the municipality understands as capable of being recovered by this adopted measure. Here, it emphasizes that the practice adopted by the municipality is inconsistent with the legal guidance provided in Municipal Law No. 3.908/2019, which provides for Environmental Licensing (LINHARES, 2019).

Furthermore, in consultation with Municipal Decree nº 546/2020, published by the city of Linhares – ES, with the purpose of regulating “the Norms of the Environmental Police Power and the General Norms of the Environmental Licensing of Potentially or Effectively Polluting Activities Established in Law nº 3.908 of 27 December 2019” it was found that it does not provide guidance on the aforementioned Institute of “Environmental Compensation” (LINHARES, 2020).

Therefore, in the specific case of Linhares – ES, after collecting information from the Department of Environmental Licensing, as well as the Department of Natural Resources, in addition to consulting the available federal and municipal legislation and the institutional website of the Municipality of the municipality, we can if it is asserted, by contrasting information, that the licensing body in question is not adequately complying with the legal provisions regarding the legal institute of Environmental Compensation.

Finally, when it comes to Environmental Compensation within the scope of Municipal Environmental Licensing, it remains to be seen that it is necessary to implement actions that promote proper adaptation and harmony between the practice adopted by the municipality regarding the form, use and application of the Environmental Compensation Institute and the predictions in current environmental legislation about the institute discussed.

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APPENDIX – FOOTNOTE

3. Estudo de Impacto Ambiental (EIA).

4. Relatório de Impacto Ambiental (RIMA).

5. Plano de Recuperação de Áreas Degradadas (PRAD).

6. Departamento de Recursos Naturais (DRN).

[1] Postgraduate in Auditing and Environmental Expertise from Universidade Gama Filho, Graduated in Environmental Management from Faculdade de Ensino Superior de Linhares-ES, Postgraduate student in Management and Public Policy from Faculdade Multivix and Graduating from the Law Course – Bachelor of Science Legal and Social Studies at the Faculdade de Ensino Superior de Linhares-ES. ORCID: 0000-0003-2417-4622.

[2] Advisor. PhD in History of Law from the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo and Universidade de Coimbra, Master in Social History of Political Relations from the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo. ORCID: 0000-0002-5051-4347.

Sent: August, 2022.

Approved: September, 2022.

5/5 - (10 votes)
Claumir Costa Soares

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