Skip to Content

Connolly, Salazar, Kamlager-Dove Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Crimes in Brazilian Amazon, Strengthen Regional Stability, and Counter Deforestation

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA) introduced the Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Brazilian Amazon Act, bipartisan legislation to counter organized criminal and drug trafficking groups who are devastating communities in and around the Brazilian Amazon, upending rule of law, and accelerating environmental degradation and deforestation. The bill would provide the U.S. government with more resources to support U.S.-Brazil efforts to address these crimes and prioritize identifying investment opportunities for U.S. companies in the Brazilian Amazon. This would help promote regional stability across the Western Hemisphere. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

“In the Brazilian Amazon, criminal organizations, illegal loggers, and drug trafficking groups exacerbate deforestation and drive the instability that impairs local communities, including Afro-Brazilian and indigenous communities, from protecting against environmental degradation,” said Connolly. “This has dire implications for our global climate and for our own security in the United States. With this bipartisan legislation, we have a chance to meaningfully advance our efforts to bolster the rule of law in the Brazilian Amazon, protect this precious environmental gem, and contribute to the stabilization of the region as a whole.”

“The Amazon Rainforest is the crown jewel of Latin America’s ecosystem,” said Salazar. “I am proud to co-lead legislation to help track down and eliminate criminals threatening the Amazon, increase regional stability, and protect local communities who care for the forest.”

“As Co-Chair of the Brazil Caucus and the Vice Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to address the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest,” said Kamlager-Dove. “This bill would support efforts to disrupt transnational criminal groups that are accelerating environmental degradation and committing attacks against indigenous communities in the Amazon and promote alternative sustainable economic opportunities to ensure that people can benefit from the Amazon’s resources without destroying the ecosystem. Protecting the Amazon is essential to global efforts to combat climate change, and both the U.S. and Brazil will benefit from deeper cooperation to combat deforestation and the criminal organizations that perpetuate it.”

Specifically, the Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Brazilian Amazon Act would:

  • Direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with other U.S. federal agencies, to prioritize supporting Brazil’s efforts to identify and disrupt transnational criminal networks committing environmental crimes.
  • Direct the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support local communities and vulnerable areas in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Recommend the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) place an individual in Brazil responsible for identifying sustainable economic opportunities for U.S. businesses in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Require the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress regarding drivers of deforestation and environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Advise the United States to encourage international financial institutions to prioritize promoting sustainable development in the Amazon and oppose loans or programs that would exacerbate environmental crimes in the region.

Text of the legislation is available here

Back to top