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Environmental care as the basis for any project undertaken in Brazil

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Brazil has a procedure in place prior to beginning each project, the aim of which is to ensure that projects are carried out in accordance with laws and regulations in force and do not entail any kind of harm to natural resources. This procedure is implemented whenever the possibility of pollution exists and is intended to minimize such risk to a negligible level. It comprises all project stages, from planning to operation, and includes installation, the phase to which particular attention is paid.

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There are environmental agencies which manage and regulate all such activities according to their dimension and location. These organizations join forces to advocate for and protect diverse interests, noteworthy among which are the environment itself and traditional communities.

Permits are related to the phase of activity subject to licensing, and they are fundamentally granted based on certain requirements. In the licensing process, permits that may be issued by the environmental agency are the following:

Preliminary License (PL): attesting to the viability of the activity; in other words, it approves the location and the project to be deployed. This license is only issued after a detailed study of the environmental, social and economic spheres of the affected area. Such analysis is carried out by a multidisciplinary team of professionals provided by the company.

Installation License (IL): allowing the startup of construction activities. To obtain this license, the company has to develop and present a Basic Environmental Plan (BEP), which consists of a range of programs devised to minimize (if negative) or optimize (if positive) the impacts generated due to construction work. Activities requiring deforestation usually need to obtain a vegetation suppression authorization, a permit which is also issued by the environmental agency.

Operating License (OL): authorizes the beginning of operating activity, and is granted depending on the requirements agreed upon and the execution of all environmental programs prepared during the installation period. This license has a duration of four to ten years and is often renewed by the environmental agency over the course of the activity’s lifespan.

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In a country like Brazil, with an abundance of unique natural environments and exotic species, it is essential to have legal instruments in place which serve to monitor, protect and ensure that natural resources are being used and modified sustainably.

Gabriel Abranches de Souza Santos, Environmental Licensing at Abengoa Brazil.

Gabriel Abranches de Souza Santos, Environmental Licensing at Abengoa Brazil.

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