The Senate has passed a law placing bans of up to 60 years on any changes in the use of land razed by fire, including real-estate projects, in order to avoid speculation.
"We cannot allow a few opportunists to do business at the expense of the environment," declared Senator Ana Claudia Almirón (Frente de Todos-Corrientes), adding that this year "900,000 hectares were set ablaze in 22 of Argentina’s 23 provinces, of which over 90 percent were the product of arson or human negligence."
According to the text of the norm, the ban on changing the use of land affected by fire runs to 60 years in the case of forests (whether virgin or implanted), protected areas and wetlands, and 30 years for farmland, pastures and scrubland.
The bill , pushed by the head of the lower house Frente de Todos bloc Máximo Kirchner, was approved in the Senate late last Friday by a 41-28 vote (one abstention) after clearing the lower house by a 132-96 vote, with the centre-right Juntos por el Cambio opposition supplying the negative votes.
Senator Laura Rodríguez Machado (PRO-Córdoba) warned: "This bill ignores that land use is a provincial prerogative in Argentina. You cannot amend the Civil Code restricting property rights."
One of the zones most affected by the fires this year was the Paraná delta, one of the world’s biggest centres of biodiversity housing some 700 species, with over 165,000 hectares burnt.