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Brazil environment agency funds on the fall since January 1

Brazil environment agency funds on the fall since January 1
Highlights

Among the cuts: funding for prevention and control of forest fires was reduced 23 per cent.

Brasilia: - As the world recoils at the sight of fires ravaging Brazil's Amazon jungle, the nation's far-right government is undermining the agency charged with protecting the rainforest, Reuters has learned from interviews with ten current and former employees, public records and a review of internal government reports.

Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro has made no secret of his disdain for the public body, known as Ibama, which he has publicly rebuked as an impediment to the nation's development.

Since he took office on January 1, Ibama's budget has shrunk by 25 per cent as part of government-wide belt tightening, according to internal government data collected by the opposition PSOL party and shared with Reuters. Among the cuts: funding for prevention and control of forest fires was reduced 23 per cent.

New leadership at Ibama also has made it tougher for the agency to crack down on illegal logging, farming and mining that have despoiled nearly 12,000 square kilometers (4,633 square miles) in the Amazon this year, all of the former and current employees told.

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