Brazil's Federal Police Superintendent in the Amazon Alexandre Saraiva on Wednesday sued Environment Minister Ricardo Salles for favoring illegal logging. The lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court, which must now decide whether to open an investigation against Salles or not.
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In late 2020, the police seized over 20,000 cubic meters of wood illegally extracted from the Amazon.
"Since then, Salles has condemned the police operation and has defended the apparent legality of the material and loggers under investigation," Saraiva said.
"Salles, who evidently has an alliance with the timber sector, is obstructing environmental crime investigations and seeking private and illegitimate businessmen's support," he added.
In March, the Environment Minister visited the Amazon to address the conflict. He assured that the land from which the timber was extracted is legal and recalled that wood extraction is allowed in Brazil.
Deforestation in the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, rose by 17 percent in 2020. Wildfires, beef production, and logging are causing forested areas about the size of El Salvador to disappear.
Earlier this month, Brazil sought US$1 billion in aid from countries including the U.S. and Norway to help reduce deforestation by up to 40 percent.