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 2017 issue covers developments from September 16 to October 15.
Brazil, Mexico, Peru Elected As Members of Minamata Convention Implementation and Compliance Committee
During the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1), Brazil, Mexico, and Peru were elected as members of the Implementation and Compliance Committee, charged with promoting the implementation of the Convention and reviewing compliance with all its provisions. The appointment enables Brazil, Mexico, and Peru to maintain an active role in the global community, positions them as leaders on this issue, and strengthens their commitments under the Convention.
Potable Water and Sanitation Proposed As Legal Human Rights
A bill proposed in the Senate would declare access to potable water and sanitation to be essential human rights. It would also promote technological development and guarantee government financial support to ensure that all inhabitants have access to these services. The proposal will go to the Committee on Rights and Guarantees and the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for review.
Guidelines for Implementation of National Solid Waste Policy Reverse Logistics Systems Approved
The Committee for the Implementation of Reverse Logistics Systems (CORI), chaired by the Ministry of Environment, has published a resolution establishing guidelines for the implementation of reverse logistics systems under the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010). The Law subjects a variety of products to take-back requirements, including batteries, and electrical and electronic products and their components. The Guidelines went into effect upon their publication in the Official Gazette.
Mercury Banned for Use in Dental Alloys
The National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) published a resolution(No. 173) prohibiting the manufacture, import, sale, and use of mercury in non-encapsulated amalgam alloy intended for dentistry. The Resolution does not apply to amalgam alloy in an encapsulated form intended for dentistry. Violators of the new rules face penalties under Law No. 6.437/1977, which governs sanitary infractions and sanctions. The Resolution goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
Terms of Commitment for Steel Packaging Reverse Logistics Systems Open for Public Comment
The Committee for the Implementation of Reverse Logistics Systems (CORI), chaired by the Ministry of Environment, has published revised draft terms of commitment for the implementation of individual reverse logistics systems for steel packaging. The proposed terms include involvement of waste collectors, installation of voluntary delivery points, and integration with urban cleaning and solid waste management public services. The proposed terms of commitment are open for a thirty-day public consultation period, ending November 3, 2017.
Revised Bill Would Impose Environmental Design and Take-Back Requirements for Electro-Electronic Products
A revised bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require manufacturers and importers of electro-electronic products and their components to incorporate design-for-environment elements and adhere to the progressive collection, reuse, and recycling goals as well as packaging and labeling requirements. Prior to the bill's revision, the original proposal was to set progressive recycled material content requirements for electro-electronic products and their components and mandate the use of an approved seal on products to indicate the presence of recycled materials. If adopted as proposed, the bill would go into effect 180 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Revised PCB Elimination Bill Progresses
The Environment and Sustainable Development Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a substitute proposal to a bill that would mandate decontamination or controlled disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and their wastes, including PCB-containing transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment. The revised bill varies from the original proposal in that it would establish mechanisms to promote compliance with the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and its substance elimination deadlines. It would also require those who possess PCBs to account for the environmentally appropriate final destination of PCBs, their wastes, and contaminated materials, as well as the amount of PCBs and contaminated materials in their possession. The substitute bill would then require them to inventory and report, every two years, their PCBs stocks to the relevant environmental authority. The revised bill now passes to the Constitution and Justice Committee for review.
São Paulo Bill Would Require Retailers to Establish Collection Points for Packaging
A bill proposed in São Paulo’s Legislative Assembly would require all commercial establishments that sell packaged products to set up collection points for used packaging made of paper, plastic, or similar material. The collected packaging waste would then be delivered to recycling cooperatives or similar organizations. If adopted as proposed, the bill would go into effect 40 days following its publication in the Official Gazette, at which point all commercial establishments would be responsible for using their own funds to set up collection points. However, the bill would also authorize the government to provide supplementary funding if deemed necessary. Violators would be subject to fines, which would increase progressively for continued noncompliance.
Compliance Deadline Extended for Video Game Legend Regulation
The Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism has published a resolution(No. 89) that sets a new compliance deadline for the Regulation governing the content, form, dimensions and other characteristics of video game legends (Supreme Decree No. 51/2015). The original effective date of October 6, 2017, has been pushed back to January 2, 2018.
Plastic Bag Ban Proposed for Coastal Cities
At the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced that a bill banning the use of plastic bags in Chile’s 102 coastal cities would be developed within one year. The bill would be a modification of a prior motion calling for a plastic bag ban in the whole country, which has remained pending in the Senate Environment Committee since 2015. The initiative is intended to strengthen the national regulatory framework on the protection of marine ecosystems.
Procedure for Energy Efficiency Projects to Receive Tax Benefits Approved
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (Minambiente) has published a resolution (No. 1988) setting 2022 national energy savings goals for the following sectors: transport (5.49%), industry (1.71%), tertiary (i.e., commercial, public, and services) (1.13%), and residential (0.73%). Interested entities may submit requests to the National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) to receive special tax benefits for the implementation of certain listed energy efficiency actions and measures, including the use of vehicles with low and zero emissions, industrial combustion improvement, energy management systems, energy efficient buildings, and LED lighting for homes, among others. Applications require the presentation of a technical concept (document providing proof of compliance with certain requirements) issued by the Energy Mining Planning Unit (UPME) of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (See Resolution No. 585). Both resolutions went into effect upon their publication in the Official Gazette.
Fund Approved for Non-Conventional Energies and Efficient Management of Energy
The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MinMinas) has published a decree (No. 1543) that modifies the Single Regulatory Decree of the Mines and Energy Sector (No. 1073/2015) to add provisions establishing guidelines for the Fund for Non-Conventional Energies and the Efficient Management of Energy (FENOGE). Resources from FENOGE will generally go to financing programs and projects within the residential sector that involve implementing small-scale self-generation energy solutions or improving energy efficiency through new practices that promote energy savings or acquisition of energy efficient equipment, technologies, or buildings. It went into effect upon its publication in the Official Gazette.
Chemicals Risk Management Bill Progresses
A bill that would establish a system for monitoring and controlling substances and raw materials that could pose risks to human health has been approved by the Senate after two debates and has passed to the Chamber of Deputies for review. If adopted as proposed, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, in coordination with other relevant agencies and scientific institutions, could impose protective measures, including restrictions or bans on the use, sale, and/or distribution of substances or raw materials.
Revised Draft Decree Adopting GHS for Chemicals Published
The Ministry of Labor has published an updated draft decree adopting the 6th edition (2015) of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The Draft Decree would apply to all people and entities, both public and private, that engage in the extraction, production, import, storage, transport, distribution, sale, or use of pure, diluted, or mixtures of chemicals that have at least one of the hazard characteristics established by the criteria in GHS. GHS would be implemented for workplace chemicals, chemical pesticides, chemicals used in transportation, and consumer chemicals within deadlines established by the Ministries of Labor; Agriculture; Transportation; and Health and Social Protection, respectively. Pharmaceutical products, food additives, cosmetics, and pesticide residues in food would be exempt from GHS labeling requirements, while hazardous wastes would be identified, classified, and labeled in accordance with current regulations specific to hazardous waste.
Costa Rica Imposes GHS Labeling Requirements for Hazardous Chemical Products
The Ministry of Health has published a final regulation (RTCR 481:2015) that establishes labeling requirements for hazardous chemical products under the classification criteria of the 6th edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). While the regulation adopts GHS classification, its labeling requirements are unique to Costa Rica, including, for example, proof that a covered product is registered with the Ministry of Health. The scope of the current regulation appears to include many consumer products that qualify as hazardous under GHS criteria, many of which were not previously subject to registration. The regulation goes into effect on December 30, 2017. Covered products that are currently registered and sold in Costa Rica have a five-year transition period during which they can be sold with their existing labels.
Updated Country Program Sets Path for Carbon Neutrality by 2085
With the goal of reaching 0% emissions by 2085, the updated Carbon Neutrality Country Program 2.0 seeks to support Costa Rica’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change by providing a platform for companies, organizations, and now municipalities to publicly commit to reducing their carbon footprint and reporting their emissions. Developed in 2012 with only two participating organizations, the Country Program has grown to 96 participating organizations with the target to close 2017 with at least 20 more.
New Draft Law for Regulation and Certification of Ecological and Sustainable Products Proposed
A Draft Law for the Regulation and Certification of Ecological and Sustainable Products has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies. Almost identical to an earlier proposal from 2016, the bill is intended to combat the practice of "greenwashing," or the misleading or false representation of environmental benefits in product marketing. Key variations that differentiate the Draft Law from its predecessor include:
- Incorporation of design for the environment as an essential component of ecological and sustainable products.
- Modifications to the definition of "ecological and/or sustainable product."
If adopted as proposed, the Draft Law could have significant impacts on the advertising and marketing of products sold in Mexico.
Minamata Convention Implementation Law Repealed
A law (No. 30664) has been published in the Official Gazette to repeal various legislative decrees, including No. 1345, which established rules to implement Peru’s commitments under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and more broadly, restricted the manufacture and trade of cosmetic, domestic hygiene, and specialty chemical products. The new law also restores the validity of rules modified or repealed by Legislative Decree No. 1345.
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.