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 2016 issue covers developments from January 16 to February 15.
Bill No. 225/15 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to establish the National System for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (RED+). The system would facilitate the development of Brazil’s internal carbon market, in which credits could be generated to obtain financing or certificates could be used to offset GHG emissions within Brazil or in other countries.
Bill No. 4273/2016 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to set new compliance deadlines for Law No. 13.233/2015, which requires the packaging of cleaning products and equipment to display labels on water shortages and the need for water conservation. New products would have one year to come into compliance with the Law, while currently sold products would have two years.
Bill No. 3903/2015 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to require electronics and appliances to display a product’s estimated useful life. Under the Bill, owners of electronics or appliances that become obsolete (due to circumstances outside the consumer’s control) before the end of the displayed time period could return the products to the supplier within seven business days. The supplier would be obligated to refund the consumer or provide a replacement product.
Chamber of Deputies Bill No. 226/2015 would amend the National Solid Waste Policy Law (No. 12305/2010) to state explicitly that retailers and distributors are obligated to collect end-of-life products and packaging from consumers. Under the Law's existing provisions for reverse logistics, consumers must return end-of-life products to retailers and distributors, who must return them to manufacturers and importers through take-back systems that are to be established through sectoral agreements.
MINMINAS has published its 2016 Action Plan for the mining and energy sector, which includes weighted objectives, targets, and indicators for internal departments. Highlights include developing and adopting policies, plans, programs, and guidelines to support the implementation of the Technical Labeling Regulation (RETIQ) and reducing the use of mercury in gold extraction processes in support of the goals set forth by the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MinAmbiente) has proposed a bill establishing procedures and requirements for obtaining Environmental Benefit Certification from non-conventional energy and energy efficient projects. Entities granted certification would be eligible for tax benefits on the procurement of components, equipment, machinery, and services needed to carry out their projects.
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MinAmbiente) has published a draft regulation implementing its Green Marketing Claims Law (Decree No. 1369/2014), which regulates "green marketing," i.e. advertising with an environmental message about products or services. The draft regulation applies to importers, producers, distributers, and sellers of goods (i.e. products, product components or parts, and packaging) and services that are advertised through labels, promotional materials, or other forms of marketing in any medium.
The Ministry of Industry and Productivity (MIPRO) has published Resolution No. 16049, which aims to promote the growth and development of the industry dedicated to the labeling/relabeling of products imported into the country that are subject to Ecuadorian Technical Regulations (RTE INEN). The Resolution aims to reduce operating costs for importers.
A draft decree proposed in the Senate would introduce a new provision to the Consumer Protection Code requiring suppliers of goods and services to possess proof of characteristics, conditions, or benefits claimed through any form of media. Acceptable proof would include studies, tests, or analysis conducted through scientific methods, considered rational, truthful, and objective.
A bill regulating the labeling of organic foods and GMOs has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies. The bill’s development was spurred by consumer calls for transparency and concerns over the uncertain long-term health effects associated with GMO consumption over time.
SCT has published NOM-019-SCT2/2015, which establishes technical specifications and general provisions for the cleaning and control of residues in units that transport substances, materials, and hazardous waste. The standard goes into effect 60 days following its publication in the Official Gazette.
The first phase of Mexico’s Project for the Management and Destruction of Substances that Deplete the Ozone is now complete. To date, the country reports that it has successfully eliminated 97.5% of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and completely replaced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon tetrachloride, halons, and methyl bromide. To combat remaining ODSs, Mexico will implement the National Plan for the Elimination of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which aims to eliminate 67.5% of these substances by 2022.
The National Advisory Committee of Standardization for the Preservation and Rational Use of Energy Resources (CCNNPURRE) has published NOM-026-ENER-2015, which establishes energy efficiency limits, testing, and labeling requirements for ductless split system air conditioners with variable refrigerant flow. The standard goes into effect 180 days following its publication in the Official Gazette.
Mexico has become the first Latin American country to transition from analog TVs to digital terrestrial TVs (DTTs). Through coordinated efforts between the Secretariats of Communications and Transport (SCT) and Environment (SEMARNAT), over 10.1 million DTTs have been distributed throughout the country. Analog TV collection centers will remain in operation until November 2018. The Mexican Congress has pushed to strengthen the DTT Transition Program by calling for SCT and SEMARNATto create a telephone hotline for citizens to request collection of used analog TVs.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has published Supreme Decree No. 004-2016-EM, requiring all public entities and/or companies to replace outdated equipment with equipment that meets the highest energy efficiency standards. It repeals Supreme Decree No. 034-2008-EM and applies to lamps, ballasts for fluorescent lamps, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers for household use, air conditioners, and water heaters, among others. Technical specifications for covered equipment will be approved within a maximum period of one year through Ministerial Resolution.
Bill No. 5134/2015-CR has been proposed in the Unicameral Congress to modify the General Solid Waste Law (No. 237314) to require municipalities to oversee and sanction companies that provide public transportation services to passengers that throw trash on national or regional roads. Municipalities would need to notify the Public Ministry within 5 days of detecting such acts.
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.