Peruvian president to seed new Environment Ministry budget with decree

Peru President Alan Garcia plans to enact an emergency legislative decree to transfer 12 million soles, or about $4.2 million, to the newly created Environment Ministry after Congress failed to make the allocation last week, said Environment Minster Antonio Brack late Thursday night.

“Legislative decree N°1013 which created the Environment Ministry has already been ratified. But because the legislature ended its session and because they became entangled in a series of debates, President Alan Garcia will enact an emergency decree tonight or tomorrow to transfer 12 million soles from the National Environment Council (Conam),” Brack told state news agency Andina.

Garcia enacted the Environment Ministry by legislative decree without approval from Congress May 13 as Peru rushed to meet environmental provisions included in its free trade agreement with the United States. The ministries creation also coincided with a meeting of Latin-American and European presidents and ministers for a summit that dealt closely with global climate change.

The move angered many legislators who condemned the process arguing that by law it is exclusively Congress’ responsibility to approve the creation of a new ministry.

Last week, Brack asked legislators to “let him work” and to put aside their political differences after Congress refused to approve the transfer of the National Environment Council’s 12 million soles budget to his ministry.

“But for God’s sake, they should just fix it and let me work!” he said. “People need and want an Environment Ministry that works for them and that finds solutions to their problems.”

But, according to Brack, diverging opinions are part of the game.

“If we ask 20,000 Peruvians about the legislative decree, then we’re going to have 20,000 opinions, its part of democracy,” he said. “As we can see, the best bull fighters are those who are in the grandstand, but I am the one who is in the bullring.”

Brack hopes for an additional 5 million soles, or about $1.7 million, to get his new ministry up and running before mid-August.

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