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 November 2015 issue covers developments from September 16 to October 15.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published a summary of the progress made and the challenges facing various regions of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean, as they work toward achieving the 2020 goal of implementing the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
The 2015-2016 Roadmap presents the milestones and activities to support the implementation of the 2015-2022 Regional Strategy on Sustainable Consumption and Production in Latin-America and the Caribbean.
In anticipation of COP21, Argentina pledges to cut emissions 30% by 2030. 15% of emissions reductions are unconditional, while the remaining 15% are conditional, dependent on international aid.
Argentina's Secretariat of Environment (SAyDS) has published Resolution No. 827/15, which creates the Electronic Manifesto System (SIMEL), a new online tool intended to streamline the process of capturing hazardous waste information required for the Manifesto (Chapter 3, Arts. 12 & 13) under Law No. 24.051 for Hazardous Waste Management.Hazardous waste generators, transporters, and operators in Argentina must register under the new system.
Bill No. 5414-D-2015 has been proposed in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies to promote the domestic production of bio-based and biodegradable bioplastics for industrial purposes. The Bill provides plastics manufacturers in Argentina with a range of tax incentives.
Senate Bill 3420/15 would modify the General Environment Law (No. 25.675/02) to incorporate the principle of non-regression—that environmental law and jurisprudence should not be revised if the changes would result in environmental protection levels already achieved.
Argentina's Secretariat of Environment (SAyDS) has published Resolution No. 840/15 to create the National Program for the Integrated Management of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). The Resolution represents a step forward in Argentina's progress toward phasing out PCBs under its international commitments.
The Environment, Consumer Protection, and Inspection and Control Committees have approved Bill No. 523/13, which would amend the National Policy on Solid Waste (Law 12.305/10) to require municipalities and the Federal District to establish fines for littering. Already adopted in some cities, the rule would be applied nationwide.
The National Institute of Metrology Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO) has published Ordinance No. 511 for the technical deregulation of electromagnetic ballast for tubular fluorescent lamps. The Ordinance will be open for a 60-day public comment period, beginning October 13, 2015.
The Parliamentary Front, which is made up of 222 members, advocates for the effective application of the National Solid Waste Policy (Law 12.305 /10), which determines the termination of all landfills and the adoption of reverse logistics systems within Brazilian municipalities.
Bill No. 2940/15 has been proposed in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies to require take-back and adequate management and disposal of end-of-life electronics and components. The Bill's core provisions appear intended to reinforce existing requirements under the National Solid Waste Policy Law (No. 12305/10) and the Basel Convention, but have the potential to alter those requirements, e.g., by equating e-waste to "chemical waste" and prohibiting movements of e-waste across municipal boundaries.
In anticipation of COP21, Brazil pledges to cut emissions 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030, both when compared to 2005 levels.
Quality Management Systems Standards Published
The Ministry of the Environment (MMA) has announced that by the end of 2015, the National Chemical Safety Commission (CONASQ), in coordination with the federal government, industry, and the general public, will develop a proposal for legislation establishing rules and guidelines for identification and control of hazardous chemicals and determining applicability of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System for Hazardous Chemicals (GHS).
The Ministries of Environment (MMA) and Science Technology and Innovation, in coordination with state governments, private sector representatives, and academia have published the draft National Climate Change Adaptation Plan for a 45-day public comment period, ending November 22, 2015.
In anticipation of COP21, Chile pledges to reduce its emissions 30% by 2030, based on 2007 levels. This could increase to 35-45% with international aid.
The Doha amendment establishes the second commitment period (beginning January 1, 2013, and ending December 31, 2020) of the Kyoto Protocol, the international GHG emissions reduction treaty.
Bill No. 097/15 has been proposed in the Senate to prohibit the production, sale, export, import, and distribution of asbestos in Colombia. The Bill would enter into force one year after enactment, at which time violators would face sanctions of 100 times the federal minimum monthly salary for each day of noncompliance.
A bill has been proposed in the Senate, amending the federal constitution to declare water as a fundamental right. The bill would protect water for its primary use for human consumption—both current and future generations.
Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) has published the 7th National Energy Plan 2015-2030. The Plan outlines the country's regulatory framework on energy efficiency in consumer equipment and provides goals and actions for improvement. The Plan targets certain areas, such as refrigeration, cooking, water heating, air conditioning, and lighting, due to their high energy consumption.
In anticipation of COP21, Costa Rica pledges to cut emissions 25% by 2030, based on 2012 levels.
In anticipation of COP21, Ecuador pledges to cut emissions in the energy sector 20.4-25 % by 2025. This could increase to 37.5-45.8 % with international aid.
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would modify the Federal Consumer Protection Law to prohibit "greenwashing," or the misleading or false representation of a company’s environmental practices or the environmental benefits of a product or service. If passed in its current form, the Bill could increase regulation of environmental marketing claims for products and services sold in Mexico.
Mexico's Secretariat of Energy (SENER) has published reforms to the Draft Decree to the Sustainable Energy Use Regulation that would modify several important timeframes, impacting "high-volume energy users," manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of electrical and electronic equipment in Mexico.
Mexico's Secretariat of Economy has published modifications to a draft battery standard that would define classification and characteristics of batteries by type and chemical technology, impose limits on heavy metals allowed in batteries, establish test methods to determine heavy metal levels in batteries, set labeling requirements, and outline conformity assessment procedures. If adopted as proposed, entities that manufacture, import, or sell primary batteries (non-rechargeable) in Mexico could face additional requirements.
Mexico's Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) has published NOM-018-STPS-2015, which implements the United Nation's Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Employers that produce, transport, store, or use hazardous chemicals in Mexico must comply with the new standard within three years following its publication in the Official Gazette.
After gathering input from the general public, the New Alliance Parliamentary Group within the Chamber of Deputies has proposed a bill that would incorporate 10 new sustainability principles in the General Water Law to fill perceived gaps in the legislation.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Chamber of Industry (CANACINTRA) to strengthen capacities for environmental compliance within the industry sector.
Mexico’s Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) conducted its 7th National Highway Operation in Tacate, Baja California to ensure compliance with national laws and regulations pertaining to the transport of hazardous materials, substances, and wastes. PROFEPA detected the irregular transport of 86 tons of hazardous waste, including oil-contaminated water, lead-acid batteries, oils, and lubricants.
Mexico's Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) has announced the start of an initial assessment to implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury and promote the sustainable use of mercury within the country. The Assessment will consist of five stages:
- Identify the mercury problem.
- Evaluate national infrastructure, including current legislation.
- Develop an inventory of and strategy for contaminated sites.
- Identify challenges, needs, and opportunities.
- Prepare a national report with Assessment results and actions for improvement.
Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has approved the National Strategy Against Climate Change through Supreme Decree No. 011-2015-MINAM. The Strategy updates its 2003 predecessor and outlines guidelines for the forestry, energy, transportation, industry, and waste management sectors.
In anticipation of COP21, Peru pledges to reduce its emissions 30% by 2030. 20% of emissions reductions are unconditional, while the remaining 10% are conditional, dependent on international aid.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. As a ratifying party member, Peru pledges to take regulatory action to reduce mercury pollution within the country.
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.