Pro-business lawyer to head Brazil's environment ministry

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has tapped a lawyer who heads a pro-business organization to be the next environment minister.

Bolsonaro said in a tweet Sunday that Ricardo de Aquino Salles would be appointed to the position.

Salles served as the environment secretary of Sao Paulo state under the leadership of former Gov. Geraldo Alckmin.

Salles told the O Estado de S. Paulo news portal that he will "defend the environment and respect all of Brazil's productive sectors."

Bolsonaro takes office Jan. 1 and has vowed to help mining and agribusiness companies expand their activities in environmentally protected areas, including the Amazon rainforest.

Greenpeace Brazil policy coordinator Marcio Astrini said Salles will promote Bolsonaro's "anti-environment agenda."

Astrini said the appointment will increase Amazon deforestation and jeopardize the fight against environmental crime.