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 July 2017 issue covers developments from May 16 to June 15.
Minamata Convention Ratification Published
On May 18, 2017, Law No. 27356 was published in the Official Gazette, approving the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Convention has now been ratified in sixty-six countries, pushing past the fifty-state threshold needed for its entry into force. The Treaty will become legally binding on August 16, 2017.
National System for Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection Approved
On May 30, 2017, Decree No. 383/2017 was published in the Official Gazette, approving the National System for Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection, which aims to reduce or prevent the impact of threats of any origin that may affect the country’s population, assets, environment, productive infrastructure, or services. It includes the operational planning of federal assistance in case of disaster through contingency plans and standard protocols.
Bill Requiring EEE Advertising to Include Energy Efficiency Level Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would require advertising of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to include the energy efficiency level (A++++, A+++, A++, A+, A, B, C, D, E, F) of the marketed product. Energy efficiency ratings would be required to have a clear type and size greater than or equal to 80% of the product promotion and be located at the base of the logo. In the event that an EEE producer, assembler, manufacturer, or importer has not certified the decree of energy efficiency, advertising must include the phrase, "Without energy efficiency certification." Authorities could choose to extend these advertising requirements, but could not reduce or suspend them.
National GHG Inventory Presented
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development presented the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory of Argentina, which annually records GHG emissions data in the country, using quality principles established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A new online platform houses emissions data from 1990-2014 and based on this information, Argentina’s energy sector emits that greatest quantity of GHGs with 53% of total emissions, followed by its agricultural, livestock, and forestry sectors with 39%, and finally, its industrial and waste sectors with 4% each.
Buenos Aires Proposes Draft Law for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy
The Buenos Aires Legislature has proposed a Draft Law to promote the rational and efficient use of energy. People or entities investing in energy efficiency projects in Buenos Aires City could voluntarily apply for membership to the Program for the Promotion of Investment in Energy Efficiency, making them eligible for financial assistance from the City’s Energy Efficiency Fund (FEECABA). Priority would be given to projects that improve energy efficiency in thermal systems (steam, hot water, ovens, and dryers), refrigeration systems, motor systems, lighting, and production processes, especially through the acquisition of new, more efficient technologies, or the incorporation of energy efficiency guidelines.
Paris Agreement Ratification Published
On June 6, 2017, Decree No. 9.073 was published in the Official Gazette, promulgating the Paris Agreement on climate change. Brazil’s climate pledge—or nationally determined contribution (NDC)— under the Agreement aims to reduce GHG emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 43% by 2030.
House Approves Minamata Convention on Mercury
The Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The proposal now passes to the Senate for review. While Brazil became a signatory to the Convention in 2013, both houses of the National Congress would need to pass the bill to propel it towards ratification.
House Committee Approves Water Efficiency Seal for Household Appliances
The Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill that would create a “Pro-Water Seal” to identify household appliances and sanitary equipment that meet certain water consumption standards. The Seal would need to be displayed on the packaging of covered products according to specifications outlined in implementing regulations. The federal agencies that comprise the National Environmental System (SISNAMA) and the National System of Metrology, Standardization, and Industrial Quality (SINMETRO) would be jointly responsible for awarding the Seal. The proposal, rejected by the Consumer Protection Committee, now goes to the Committees for Economic Development, Industry, Commerce and Services; and Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship for review.
Bill Requiring Large Municipalities to Set Up Collection Points for Batteries, Lamps, and Electronic Products Proposed
A bill proposed in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies would modify the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require municipalities with more than one hundred thousand inhabitants to organize and set-up collection points for post-consumer:
- Fluorescent, sodium and mercury vapor, and mixed light lamps.
- Electronic products and their components, independent of sectoral take-back agreements.
The proposal is intended to help facilitate waste management in areas where these products are generated in large quantities.
National Policy for Disassembly and Refurbishment of EEE Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would establish the National Policy for Disassembly and Refurbishment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), which would aim to increase access and appropriate use of information and communication technologies by the Brazilian population. Most notably, the Policy would establish general guidelines for the environmentally sustainable disposal of computers and associated equipment owned by federal agencies through incorporation of the existing Computers for Inclusion Program, comprised of Computer Refurbishment Centers (CRCs), physical spaces adapted for EEE refurbishment and recycling, and Digital Inclusion Points (PIDs), physical spaces that provide the public free access to computers with an internet connection. The implementation of the Policy would be overseen by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), the States, the Federal District, and the Municipalities.
Voluntary Sustainability Standards Launched
The Brazilian Platform for Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS), also known as Private Standards (PS), was launched on May 31st in Brasília and June 1st in São Paulo. The initiative, led by the National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology (INMETRO), serves to increase trade impacts or restrict access to markets. The Platform aims to achieve the following results, among others:
- Develop studies that enable the Brazilian government to acquire more accurate information on VSS, its impacts, and its costs and benefits to Brazilian products and exports.
- Identify productive sectors and product groups within the export sector that are most affected by VSS.
- Develop policy studies on best practices, so the Brazilian Government can facilitate the use or development of VSS by national producers of sectors most exposed to such standards in international markets with the objective of maximizing the benefits of development and minimizing costs associated with the use of VSS.
State and FIESP Sign Cooperation Agreement to Address Waste Problem
São Paulo's environmental agency (CETESB) and the State Environment Secretariat signed a cooperation agreement with the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP) to develop actions and projects aimed at improving solid waste management. The Agreement encourages a circular economy, cleaner production, and adoption of environmental management systems through recycling programs and reverse logistics. FIESP represents approximately 150,000 industries throughout São Paulo.
Paris Agreement Ratification Published
On May 23, 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published Decree No. 30/2017in the Official Gazette, promulgating the Paris Agreement on climate change. Chile’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Agreement includes two emissions reduction targets for 2030: the unconditional target is a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030, based on 2007 levels, while the conditional target (dependent on international support) is a 35–45% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030, based on 2007 levels.
Ministry of Environment Requests Information from Producers of Priority Products
The Ministry of Environment has made an important step forward in developing future national collection and recovery targets for priority products identified under the Law for Extended Producer Responsibility and Promotion of Recycling (No. 20.920/2016) by requesting that producers submit information on their sales and waste management activities via the Registry of Emissions and Transfers of Contaminants, applicable to producers of:
- Lubricating oils.
- Electrical and electronic equipment.
- Cells and batteries.
- Containers and packaging.
- Newspapers, periodicals, and magazines.
Producers of lubricating oils, cells and batteries, tires, and newspapers, periodicals and magazines must provide this information by July 31, 2017, while producers of electrical and electronic equipment and containers and packaging have until August 31, 2017.
Congress Approves Paris Agreement
A bill that would ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change has been approved in both chambers of Congress. To complete the ratification process, the proposal must be approved by both the President and the Constitutional Court. Under the Agreement, Colombia commits to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% by 2030 or 30% with international support, both based on the projected business-as-usual scenario.
National Law for the Integrated Management of Solid Waste In the Works
The Ministry of Environment has announced the development of the National Law for the Integrated Management of Solid Waste, which will be based on the National Policy for the Integral Management of Solid Waste (CONPES 3874). The Law will aim to define clear leadership within an organized institutional framework for effective and efficient waste management, create instruments and incentives to reach its objectives, and develop a national information system that will provide data and information on waste type and management activities.
Tax Incentives for Energy Efficiency Projects Could Be Renewed
The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINMINAS) has proposed a resolution that would extend the application of tax incentives for energy efficiency projects under the Indicative Action Plan for the 2010 – 2015 Program for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy (PROURE) (Resolution No. 180919/2010) to the Indicative Action Plan for the 2017-2022 PROURE (Resolution No. 41286/2016). MINMINAS, together with the Energy Mining Planning Unit (UPME), would design a platform to report the projects subject to tax incentives and their impact in terms of reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions. The effectiveness of the application of tax incentives would be annually reviewed and modified if deemed appropriate.
Draft Regulation for the Collection of Fees Associated with Registration and Control of Hazardous Chemicals Proposed
The Ministry of Health has proposed a Draft Regulation to regulate the Ministry's collection of fees associated with registration, registration renewal, post-registration changes, use of registration, and monitoring and control of hazardous chemicals. The Draft Regulation would establish rates for these services in U.S. dollars. The proposal outlines special payment exemptions for hazardous chemicals that by their use are not classified as finished products, hazardous chemicals used for the development and innovation of new products, micro-enterprises, and those who qualify for conditions of poverty and extreme poverty. All payments would be conducted electronically through the "Regístrelo" portal.
Modifications to Energy Efficiency Regulation for Refrigerators and Freezers Proposed
The Ministry of Environment has proposed modifications to RTCR No. 482-2015, which establishes energy efficiency limits, testing, and labeling requirements for refrigerators and freezers with hermetically sealed compressor-motors that are manufactured, imported, and sold in Costa Rica. The draft amendments would introduce the definition of “exemption” and establish procedures for product certificate exemptions for the import of samples intended for product certification and laboratory testing.
National Policy on Social Responsibility Proposed
The Government of Costa Rica has proposed the 2017-2030 National Policy on Social Responsibility, intended to spread and raise awareness on “social responsibility” within the country. Special emphasis would be placed on promoting ethical behavior, human and labor rights, equal employment opportunities, employee empowerment, integrity of global supply chains, respect for the environment, dialogue with stakeholders, transparency, and responsible decision-making. The draft Policy is based on initiatives developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and models from other countries.
Costa Rica Promotes Substitution of Single-Use Plastic With Renewable, Compostable Alternatives
Through its National Recycling Strategy, Costa Rica seeks to replace single-use plastic, such as plastic bags, straws, and containers, with renewable and compostable products by means of voluntary actions. Through the newly developed website, www.zonalibredeplastico.org, institutions, organizations, companies and the general public can participate in the Strategy by recording their substitution commitments and can access a national database of participating suppliers, and renewable and compostable products.
Special Energy Transition Program Approved
- The Secretariat of Energy has published the Special Energy Transition Program, which provides a roadmap to achieve the goals established in the Energy Transition Law for 2018, 2021, and 2024. The four primary objectives of the Program are to:
- Increase installed capacity and generation of electricity from renewable energy sources.
- Expand and modernize the transmission infrastructure and increase distributed generation and storage benefits.
- Promote technological development, talent, and value chains in renewable energies.
- Democratize access to renewable energies through rural electrification, thermal utilization, and social participation.
Energy Efficiency Draft Standard for General Purpose Lamps Published
On June 7, 2017, a draft energy efficiency standard for general purpose lamps was posted for a 60-day public comment period. The draft standard would apply to lamps intended for use in residential, commercial, services, industrial, or public sectors, and would include incandescent, incandescent with halogen, linear fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, and mixed light lamps that are imported, manufactured, and/or sold in Mexico. It would establish energy efficiency, conformity assessment, and marking requirements. Interested parties may submit comments to the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE).
Plastic Drinking Straw Ban Proposed
Two bills proposed in the National Congress would modify the General Law for the Prevention and Integrated Management of Wastes to regulate the use of plastic drinking straws. The first bill, proposed in the Chamber of Deputies, would call for federal authorities to promote the use biodegradable materials, especially in drinking straws, and would authorize them to impose sanctions on commercial and service establishments that provide non-biodegradable straws to patrons. The second bill, proposed in the Senate, would similarly call for federal authorities to regulate and establish the basis for prohibiting the delivery of plastic straws in commercial and service establishments.
Tax on PET Beverage Containers Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would modify the Special Tax Law on Production and Services to impose a $0.05 tax on non-returnable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage containers less than 1,000 milliliters imported or sold in Mexico, so as to discourage their use and reduce risks posed to human health and the environment.
National Air and Water Quality Standards Updated
On June 7, 2017, the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) published Supreme Decrees No. 003-2017-MINAM and No. 004-2017-MINAM in the Official Gazette, approving the Environmental Quality Standards (ECA) for Air and Water, respectively, which set new values and parameters to improve the management of environmental quality and provide adequate levels of protection for the health of the population. The Water ECA
- Unifies existing water quality rules.
- Changes the focus of the parameter set for water used in the irrigation of agricultural fields to depend on the use of the agricultural product.
- Corrects gaps in existing legislation coverage by incorporating water for the irrigation of public parks, green areas and/or sports fields.
The Air ECA presents changes in five of its ten air quality parameters (i.e. particulate material, ozone, sulfur dioxide, mercury, hexane) as a result of updated scientific evidence. The new standards conform to recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Environmental Performance Assessment of Peru.
Technical Specifications Approved for Electric Motors
The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has approved 15 technical specifications for three-phase electric squirrel cage induction motors via Resolution No. 223-2017-MEM/DM, published in the Official Gazette on June 5, 2017.
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.