SAO PAULO (AP) — President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Thursday to dismiss officers at the Brazilian agency that monitors deforestation in the Amazon over its publication of data he disagrees with.
Bolsonaro repeated his charge that members of the INPE federal agency might have manipulated deforestation figures to make his administration look bad, adding that he will fire immediately any officer that provided figures he deems as “doubtful.”
The agency reported recently that 920 square kilometers (370 square miles) of Amazon forest was lost in June, a spike of 88% from the amount of deforestation the same month last year.
“I don’t want to infer, start talking about possible links to this or that, personal matters. But (the figures) are very odd,” Bolsonaro said.
The head of INPE, Ricardo Galvão, is an open critic of the far-right president’s environmental policies, but can’t be fired from a term that runs through 2020.