JAKARTA — A controversial new law that makes sweeping cuts to environmental regulations may also pave the way for greater corruption in Indonesia’s forestry sector, academics have warned. An analysis of the so-called omnibus law on job creation — passed by parliament in October to cut red tape and make it easy for companies to invest and do business in Indonesia — uncovered 21 areas of potential risk for corruption, according to Hariadi Kartodihardjo, a forestry policy lecturer at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB). Hariadi looked at drafts of implementing regulations for the law, which are currently being drawn up by the government, and found that they provide opportunities for officials and businesses to commit graft — even encouraging them to do so, in some cases. He cited the example of a provision in the omnibus law that scraps a requirement that all regions in Indonesia maintain a minimum 30% of their watershed and/or island area as forest area. Environmentalists have criticized this provision, saying it will lead to greater deforestation. By doing away with this threshold and leaving it up to each region to determine what amount of forest area will be sufficient to prevent environmental degradation and natural disasters, the law is creating room for backroom dealing between developers and local officials, Hariadi said. “I’m worried that there’s going to be negotiations,” he said. “If there’s no clear minimum percentage, then there are going to be negotiations. From time to time, we’ve been facing something like this.”…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer