RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is slashing the size of a body that oversees environmental policy, effectively reducing the role of non-governmental organizations.
The decree issued Wednesday cuts the size of the National Council of the Environment from 100 to 21. It also eliminates 105 "alternate" members who traditionally have taken part in debates. Many of those are environmental activists or independent experts, and critics say the change will stifle their voices.
Political appointees will now make up a larger share of the members.
Bolsonaro has vowed to loosen environmental restrictions on development, but the Environment Ministry says the change is meant to make the council more agile.
The highly influential council is debates and recommends policies to the federal officials.