Environment: A Dubious Plan for the Amazon

As jungles continue to burn, Brazil decides to do things its way

Among the world's untamed and unexplored regions, there is none richer than the Amazon Basin. For decades, Brazilian governments have sought to protect from foreign exploitation the vast rain forest's gold and minerals, oil and gas, hardwoods and cattle ranges. The great push to settle and industrialize the Amazon has been propelled in part by the government's determination to prevent neighboring countries and multinational corporations from making off with the riches that Brazilians regard as their national patrimony. Despite the precautions, however, the dreaded foreign invasion has finally come. Its name: environmentalism.

For more than a year, the government of President...

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