On April 23, 2015, Brazilian Federal Government published Decree No. 8,437, establishing new rules for environmental licensing conducted by federal environmental agencies, especially for infrastructure projects.

Such Decree provides legal certainty to licensing procedures of the projects mentioned therein. While the Decree lists projects that should be licensed by federal environmental agencies, projects not encompassed by the Decree should be licensed by States and Municipalities, in accordance with the criteria set by Law 140/11.

Some of the activities that are now subject to federal environmental licensing are:

  • Federal roads (including rectification works, maintenance works, and expansion works affecting 200 kilometers or more).
  • Federal waterways (including expansion works affecting 200 kilometers or more).
  • Ports and private port terminals that move more than 15,000,000 tons/year.
  • Production of oil and gas from non-conventional sources, such as hydraulic fracturing.
  • Hydroelectric and thermoelectric power plants with capacity of 300 MW or more.
  • Wind power plants located in maritime areas.
  • Electricity transmission systems associated with strategic enterprises.

Decree No. 8,437/15 is immediately applicable to environmental licensing proceedings initiated after April 23, 2015. Proceedings initiated with States and Municipalities prior to such date will only be redirected to the federal level when their renewal requests is to be filed.

Our environmental team is ready to clarify any doubts, as well as to provide legal assistance in environmental licensing proceedings.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.