Brazil's Congress approves changes to enviro law

Brazil's lower house of Congress has approved the main text of a bill that weakens the nation's benchmark environmental law protecting the Amazon.

The bill now goes to President Dilma Rousseff, who in the past promised to veto portions of the bill, but who has not talked about it recently.

Deputies have voted 247 to 184 to approve changes to the law known as the Forest Code. Some minor amendments are still awaiting a vote.

The bill allows some farmers and ranchers to work land closer to riverbanks and on hilltops, which environmental activists say will lead to increased deforestation.

The legislation leaves intact so-called legal reserve requirements. They mandate that 80 percent of a landowner's plot in the Amazon remain standing forest.