Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker
Our monthly Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker lists pending and recently enacted environmental laws and regulations in several Latin American countries. The March 2018 issue covers developments from January 16 to February 15.
EPR Draft Law in the Works
According to a representative from the Secretariat of Environmental Control and Monitoring under the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, a draft law establishing minimum environmental protection measures for the management of wastes by means of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is expected to be proposed in Congress in the upcoming months. Legislators will reference the experiences of other countries, including the E.U., Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile, which already have EPR laws in effect, in the development of the Draft Law.
Mandatory Compliance Programs Required for Companies that Contract with Federal District Public Administration
District Law No. 6.112/2018, published in the Federal District Official Gazette on February 6, 2018, determines the mandatory implementation of compliance programs for companies that enter into contracts, partnerships, agreements, concessions, or public-private partnerships with the public administration of the Federal District. The Law also requires companies to submit profiles and conformity reports in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs.
ICMBio Regulates Conversion of Environmental Fines into Green Investments
The Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) has published Normative Instruction No. 2/2018, which regulates, within the scope of ICMBio, the procedures related to the conversion of fines into services of preservation, improvement, and recovery of the environment.
Bill Determining the Periodicity of Inspection for Activities Posing Risks to the Environment Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would amend the National Environmental Policy Law (No. 6.938/1981) to establish that compliance with environmental legislation would define the increase or decrease of the periodicity of inspection of activities capable of causing environmental degradation.
Public Consultation Extended for Bill Restricting Lead in Paints and Similar Surface Coating Materials
The Ministry of Environment has extended the public comment period on a draft proposal restricting the use of lead in paint, sealants, varnishes, solvents, and similar surface coating materials from January 21, 2018, to March 4, 2018. The Draft Proposal sets a maximum lead limit of 90 parts per million (ppm) or less—an 85% reduction from current legislation, which permits maximum lead content levels of 600 ppm. If the Draft Proposal is adopted a proposed, the new lead limits would harmonize with international standards established by the United Nations.
MMA Launches Guide on Genetic Heritage
The Ministry of Environment (MMA) has published a guide to inform the general public, especially indigenous peoples, traditional communities, and family farmers, on the new legal framework for genetic heritage, associated traditional knowledge, and the distribution of benefits (Law No. 13.123/2015).
Regulation for Collection, Reuse, and Disposal of Gray Water Published
The Ministry of Public Works has published a law (No. 21.075), which establishes and regulates gray water reuse systems, applicable to both urban and rural areas. Under the Law, gray water is defined as residual domestic wastewater from bathtubs, showers, washrooms, and lavatories, excluding sewage.
Modifications to Decree Regulating Health and Environmental Conditions in the Workplace Published
The Ministry of Health has published a Decree (No. 30) that modifies the Regulation on Basic Health and Environmental Conditions in the Workplace (Decree No. 594/1999) by introducing additional specifications for facilities that store hazardous substances, and amending the tables for environmental concentration permissible limits and limits of biological tolerance for certain substances.
Bill Encouraging the Use of Bioplastic Containers Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would prohibit the use of conventional plastic containers made from non-biodegradable or non-compostable polyethylene or polypropylene for the packaging of products, merchandise or manufactured goods sold to producers and consumers in retail stores, wholesale markets, supermarkets, warehouses, and general commercial establishments. Bioplastic containers made from degradable, biodegradable, or compostable materials would be encouraged as substitutes. If adopted as proposed, the Bill would go into effect one year after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Draft National Eco-Design and Labeling Plan 2018-2022 Open for Public Comment
The Ministry of Environment has published the Draft National Eco-Design and Labeling Plan 2018-2022, which lays the foundation for a system that would incorporate the environmental impact of products and organizations throughout their lifecycle through the use of eco-design and labeling practices. Notably, this would involve:
- Developing an eco-design and labeling regulation that would incorporate an Environmental Footprint for Products (HAP) and an Environmental Footprint for Organizations (HAO).
- Including eco-design and product labeling as associated obligations in the decrees establishing collection and recovery goals for “priority products” defined in the Law to Promote Recycling (No. 20.920/2016).
The Plan is open for public comment until March 30, 2018. Interested parties may submit comments here.
WEEE Regulation Finalized
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development has finalized the Decree modifying the Single Regulation of the Environment and Sustainable Development Sector (No. 1076/2015) to introduce provisions on the integrated management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in accordance with Law No. 1672/2013, Guidelines for the Adoption of a Public Policy on the Integrated Management of WEEE. The Decree, effective February 16, 2019, establishes registration, reporting, installation of collection points, and management system requirements for producers.
Updated National Plan for Implementing Stockholm Convention Transmitted
Colombia has transmitted its updated National Implementation Plan, addressing amendments from Conference of the Parties (COP) 4 to COP 7, as is required for party members of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Draft Regulation for the Classification and Management of Hazardous Waste Proposed
The Ministries of Health and Environment and Energy have published a draft regulation for the classification and management of hazardous waste. The Draft Regulation would apply to people or entities that generate, accumulate, transport, treat, manipulate, recover, or carry out the disposal of any hazardous waste. If adopted as proposed, the Draft Regulation would repeal and replace Executive Decree No. 37788-S-MINAE (2013).
Draft Regulation for Environmental Evaluation, Control, and Monitoring Proposed
The Ministry of Environment and Energy has published a draft regulation that would regulate the general procedures for the environmental evaluation, control, and monitoring of activities, works, or projects that, due to their nature and purpose, require an environmental impact assessment prior to their start. The Draft Regulation would apply to all people or entities, public or private, that develop activities, works, or projects in the continental and marine territory. If adopted as proposed, the Draft Regulation would partially repeal the General Regulation on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures (Executive Decree No. 31849-MINAE-S-MOPT-MAG-MEIC) and its amendments, except for Chapter VII and Article No. 3.37 regarding the definition of Strategic Environmental Assessment.
National Potable Water Policy 2017-2030 Launched
Costa Rica has launched the National Potable Water Policy 2017-2030, which will guide actions over the next twelve years to increase and consolidate access to drinking water (at a historic high of 93.9% coverage in 2017), protect water resources, adapt to climate change, and strengthen institutional capacities. The Policy was developed through the collaboration of the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, municipalities, the Administrative Associations of the Aqueduct and Community Sewage Systems (ASADAS), the Pan American Health Organization, and other institutions.
ASEA Emergency Technical Standard for Gasoline Service Stations Extended
The National Agency for Industrial Safety and Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector (ASEA) has published a notice that extends technical standard NOM-EM-004-ASEA-2017 by six months, ending on August 10, 2018. The technical standard establishes specifications and requirements for operational safety and environmental protection in the design, construction, pre-operation, operation, maintenance, closure, and dismantling of service stations that sell liquefied petroleum gas to the public by means of partial or total filling of portable pressure vessels.
ASEA Technical Standard for Gasoline Vapor Recovery Systems Finalized
The National Agency for Industrial Safety and Protection of the Environment in the Hydrocarbons Sector (ASEA) has published a technical standard NOM-004-ASEA-2017, establishing test methods to determine efficiency, maintenance, and parameters for the operation of gasoline vapor recovery systems used for the control of emissions in service stations that sell gasoline to the public. The new rule will go into effect 120 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Voluntary Water Footprinting Technical Standard Finalized
The Secretariat of Economy has finalized voluntary technical standard, NMX-SAA-14046-IMNC-2017, which establishes principles, requirements, and guidelines related to the evaluation of the water footprint of products, processes, and organizations based on a life cycle analysis. The technical standard is identical to international standard ISO 14046: 2014, “Environmental management—Water footprint—Principles, requirements, and guidelines” Ed 1 (August 2014). It will go into effect 60 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Draft Regulation Governing Environmental Liabilities in the Hydrocarbons Sector Proposed
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has published a draft regulation to the Law Governing Environmental Liabilities in the Hydrocarbons Sector (No. 29134), which would establish the mechanisms to ensure the identification, determination of responsible parties, and update of the inventory of environmental liabilities in the hydrocarbons sector, as well as the presentation and evaluation of Abandonment Plans and the environmental remediation of affected areas. If adopted as proposed, the Draft Regulation would repeal and replace its predecessor, Supreme Decree No. 004-2011-EM.
Draft Regulation for Environmental Protection in Electrical Activities Proposed
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has published a draft regulation for environmental protection in electrical activities, which would promote and regulate the environmental management of electrical generation, transmission, and distribution activities. If adopted as proposed, the Draft Regulation would repeal and replace its predecessor, Supreme Decree No. 29-94-EM, and Article 39 of the Regulation to the General Rural Electrification Law (Supreme Decree No. 025-2007-EM).
Bills Promoting Use of Biodegradable Plastic Bags Proposed
Two bills proposed in the unicameral Congress would promote the use of biodegradable plastic bags. The first bill would prohibit and progressively replace polyethylene bags and other bags made with conventional plastic materials used for the transport of products or merchandise with bags and containers made with degradable and/or biodegradable materials. The second bill would declare the promotion of the production and use of biodegradable plastic bags for the replacement of non-biodegradable plastic bags to be of national interest and public necessity.
As part of our International Environmental Law practice group, Beveridge & Diamond's Latin America practice group helps multinational clients navigate dynamic and unprecedented change in Latin American environmental law. We counsel clients from various industrial sectors on a wide range of issues arising under the domestic environmental regulations of most Latin American countries with an emphasis in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. For more information, please contact the authors.