In 1998, Brazil declared a 10 year moratorium on environmental law enforcement. Companies that violate environmental legislation can sign a letter of commitment with an environmental agency, promising to bring their operations into compliance and be exempted from fines or other penalties for up to 5 years, renewable for another 5 years. The moratorium is retroactive, covering the entire six month period of enforcement of the Environmental Crimes Act (1998), which gave Brazil's environmental agency statutory authority to enforce environmental law for the first time since 1989. 4,000 fines were levied in Sao Paulo state alone since the passage of the Act. Companies responsible for some 20% of Brazil's GDP operate without environmental licenses.