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 February 2016 issue covers developments from December 16 to January 15.
A bill (No. 4129/15) has been proposed in the Senate to modify the Law for Preservation of Glaciers and the Periglacial Environment (No. 26.639) to require the competent authority within each jurisdiction to semiannually inform the environment committees within both houses of Congress on the progress and obstacles to the development of the national glacier inventory. While the deadline to complete the inventory was set for March 2011, this process has not yet started.
In its role as the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Center for the Stockholm Convention, São Paulo’s environmental agency (CETESB) is currently hosting its 5th International Training Program on the Environmentally Sound Management of Chemicals and Wastes, which primarily focuses on combating Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and mercury releases. Spanning from January 1- February 3, 2016, the 168-hour intensive training program aims to strengthen technical, institutional, and legal capacities for members of the GRULAC—Group of Latin American and Caribbean—countries to support requirements set forth by the Stockholm Convention.
Prompted by the recent enactment of SMA Resolution No. 45/15, which establishes the framework for a new take-back regime in São Paulo, three sectors covering edible oils, pesticide containers, and automotive filters and lubricating oils renewed their reverse logistic agreements with São Paulo’s environmental agencies, CETESB and SMA. The renewed agreements are valid for a period of four years beginning January 1, 2016.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has published Ordinance No. 555/15, which approves the country's 10-year energy expansion plan (2014-2024). The plan, drafted by the Energy Research Company (EPE), the Ministry's research and development arm, estimated that 1.4 trillion reais (currently $344 billion) would be invested through 2024 to expand the energy matrix, which includes both electric and combustion-fuel energy generation.
The National Institute of Metrology Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO) has published Ordinance No. 617/15, which extends the deadline for manufacturers, importers, and sellers to comply with TV energy efficiency labeling requirements set forth by Ordinance No. 563/14. The technical regulation covers TVs with cathode ray tubes, plasma screens, and LCD and LED panels, as well as monitors with TV functions. TVs with dimensions greater than 65 in and smaller than 13 in are exempt.
The Senate Environment Committee has proposed modifications to Boletín 9094-12, a comprehensive waste management and extended producer responsibility bill (EPR Bill), which is now in the second constitutional phase of the regulatory approval process. Key changes reduce the list of priority products, lift and simplify penalties for violators, and introduce and clarify obligations for producers, waste managers, importers, exporters, retailers, and distributors. The EPR Bill now moves to the Finance Committee for review.
A bill (Boletín No. 10.416-12) has been proposed in the Senate that would modify a range of federal laws to incorporate provisions promoting environmental protection, GHG reductions, and climate change adaptability.
The Ministry of Environment (MinAmbiente) has published its responses to comments received on a draft regulation that would establish requirements for the integrated management of equipment containing, or possibly containing, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The regulation would extend to all natural or legal persons qualifying as owners of covered equipment, PCB managers, and those that provide equipment maintenance services. If adopted, the regulation would require regulated entities to meet a comprehensive set of new obligations, including labeling, sampling, registration, environmental management, and risk-reduction measures.
Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINMINAS) has published proposed modifications to the Technical Regulation for Labeling Electrical and Fuel Gas Equipment (RETIQ), which establish technical standards for energy efficiency labeling, testing, and certifying a range of household electronic goods, including electromagnetic and electronic lighting ballasts. The proposed modifications outline new labeling and certification specifications.
The Ministry of Health has published draft technical regulation, RTCR 478:2015, on the registration, importation, and control of hazardous chemical products. The draft regulation would apply to all hazardous chemical products used in the processes of production, storage, or transportation, as well as those used in places of work or consumption. If approved, the draft regulation would replace the Regulation for the Registration of Hazardous Chemical Products (Executive Decree No. 28113-S/1999).
Mexico’s long-awaited Energy Transition Law has been published in the Official Gazette. The main purpose of the Law is to regulate the sustainable use of energy, as well as to establish obligations for utilizing clean energies and reducing pollutants released by Mexico’s power industry. The Law abrogates the Law for the Use of Renewable Energies and Energy Transition Financing as well as the Law for the Sustainable Use of Energy, which since 2008 were the main regulatory instruments governing renewable energy sources and sustainable energy in Mexico.
Digital Television Transition Program in Final Stages
The Secretariat of the Interior has published the third quarterly report covering actions taken during July - September 2015 to implement the “National Program for the Integral Management of Discarded Televisions Due to the Transition to Digital Terrestrial Televisions." The first quarterly report covering actions taken during January – March 2015 is available here and the second quarterly report covering actions taken during April – June 2015 is available here.
A point of agreement has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies urging the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) and the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to coordinate with state authorities and the Federal District to implement a strategy to strengthen the collection system for discarded analog TVs.
The Federal Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) carried out 49,794 inspection visits in 2015, resulting in 2,273 business suspensions and more than $130 billion pesos (currently $7 billion) in penalties to suppliers and service providers in Mexico that failed to comply with the Consumer Protection Law.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published Supreme Decree No. 015-2015-MINAM, which approves the modifications made to the parameters and values established in the National Water Quality Standards. The modifications were made to better align with international water quality standards and guidelines accepted by international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
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.