"RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s government on Monday fired an official at the national space agency Inpe whose department is responsible for satellite monitoring of the Amazon rainforest, just three days after the release of June deforestation data reflected a continued increase in degradation.
Lubia Vinhas was the general-coordinator of Brazilian space agency Inpe’s Earth Observation Institute, which is an umbrella for divisions that monitor the Amazon and panels to debate climate change with civil society organizations.
It’s unclear whether the removal of Vinhas from her position was connected to the data. Her subordinate who heads the division directly overseeing satellite monitoring of Amazon deforestation remains employed. Inpe said in a statement posted to its website Monday night that the change was part of a shake-up at the agency to improve synergies.
Still, the timing of the dismissal -- coming on the heels of June data -- drew an outcry from environmentalists who claim it may be an echo of a high-profile firing at the same agency last year. President Jair Bolsonaro is a critic of environmentalists and defends fostering more economic development in the Amazon, which many adversaries see as a nod to illegal miners and loggers."