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 September 2017 issue covers developments from July 16 to August 15.
Bill Requiring Manufacturers to Use Biodegradable Plastics Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require manufacturers to use biodegradable plastics in the production of their products. The proposal would also prohibit the addition of heavy metals in the manufacture of oxy-biodegradable plastics. If adopted as proposed, the bill would go into effect five years after its publication in the Official Gazette.
House Committee Approves Hazardous Waste Tracking Bill
The Transportation Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require the installation of tracking devices in vehicles that transport hazardous wastes, including hospital, chemical, and radioactive materials. With its approval, several amendments have been made to clarify the proposal’s provisions, including the requirement that traceability should occur at the generation and collection stages, when possible, and during the stages of transport, temporary storage, and final disposal. The original text made it mandatory to track generation and collection, which the rapporteur noted wouldn’t always be possible. The bill will now be sent to the Committees on Environment and Sustainable Development; and Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship for review.
Senate Committee Approves Organic Cosmetics Labeling Bill
The Committee on Transparency, Governance, Supervision, and Control and Defense of Consumers (CTFC) in the Senate has approved a bill that would modify Law No. 6.360/1976 for the Sanitary Surveillance of Medicines, Drugs, Pharmaceutical, and Related Supplies, Cosmetics, and Sanitary Products to increase regulation over organic cosmetics. Specifically, the proposal would:
- Introduce the definition of “organic cosmetics”."
- Restate the requirement for organic cosmetics to be certified as organic products prior to registration, as specified in the Organic Agriculture Law (No. 10.831/2003).
- Mandate that only registered organic cosmetics are permitted to claim that they are an organic product on their packaging and promotional materials.
House Committee Approves Bill Instituting Tax Exemptions for Solar Energy Equipment Imports
The Finance and Taxation Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that would exempt equipment and components of solar power generation from import taxes if there are no nationally produced equivalents. The proposal now passes to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
Three Technical Product Datasheets Promoting Sustainable Public Procurement Open for Public Comment
The Ministry of Environment has published three technical datasheets establishing the criteria and socioenvironmental requirements for the public procurement of natural paper, wood partitions or dividers, and detergent. The technical data sheets are the result of a study developed under the partnership of the United Nations Environment Program and the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Public Procurement and Environmental Labeling Project, comprised of the Ministries of Planning, Development and Management (MPDG), Environment (MMA), and Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC). Interested parties may submit comments until September 8, 2017.
Reverse Logistics Bills for Used Coffee Capsules Proposed in São Paulo
Two bills proposed in the São Paulo Legislative Assembly would establish rules for the collection of coffee capsule waste. The first bill would require producers of coffee capsules and supermarkets and hypermarkets that sell such products to establish reverse logistics systems for the adequate management of coffee capsule waste. In such reverse logistics systems, supermarkets and hypermarkets would be required to set up containers for the collection of coffee capsule waste, while producers would be required to collect the discarded capsules for recycling or environmentally-appropriate disposal. The second bill would require establishments that sell espresso capsules or similar products to set up collection points for their waste and establish partnerships with recyclers registered in the State.
Bill Requiring Use of Recycled Resin in Plastic Packaging Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would amend the National Solid Waste Policy (Law No. 12.305/2010) to require manufacturers of plastic packaging to use increasing percentages of recycled resin in their production processes, beginning at 12.5% recycled resin one year following the bill’s enactment. After this time, the required percentage of recycled resin would increase by the same amount every two years over a ten-year period. Manufacturers unable to meet the required percentage of recycled resin would be able to trade credits with those with surplus values to comply with the bill’s provisions.
Water Code Enforcement and Sanctions Bill Approved by Senate
A bill, originating in the Chamber of Deputies, that would strengthen surveillance and sanctioning procedures over water code violations has been approved in the Senate. Specifically, the proposal would provide the General Directorate of Water (DGA) with better information collection tools for effective water resource management, give DGA greater enforcement powers, and increase and clarify sanctions for non-compliance with the water code. The bill now passes back to the Chamber of Deputies for review.
Technical Criteria for Offshore Exploratory Drilling Approved
The Ministry of Mines and Energy has published Resolution No. 40687, which establishes technical criteria for offshore exploratory drilling projects in Colombian waters. The new rules are applicable to operators that have entered into contracts or agreements with the country’s largest and primary state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol S.A., or the National Hydrocarbons Agency; or those entities that engage in the exploration and exploitation of offshore hydrocarbons in shallow, deep, or ultra-deep waters in Colombia.
Lead Restrictions Bill Reintroduced
A new lead restrictions bill has been proposed in the Senate, identical to a previous proposal, Bill No. 033C/2016, which ultimately failed to make it through the parliamentary process prior to expiration. The primary objective of the new bill would be to protect human health - primarily that of children and adolescents - and the environment from the dangers of lead exposure. It would regulate the lead content in certain products and industrial processes and would create a take-back program for lead-containing batteries. All people and entities, both public and private, engaged in the import, use, manufacture, distribution, and sale of products containing lead would be subject to the bill's provisions.
Bill Promoting Substitution and Reuse of Expanded Polystyrene Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would prohibit the use of expanded polystyrene (Spanish acronym ICOPOR) containers and packaging in the sale of food, initiate the gradual substitution of ICOPOR in containers and packaging with biodegradable materials, and order the implementation of the National Recycling Plan for Industrial ICOPOR. The prohibition of ICOPOR containers and packaging in the sale of food would go into effect four years after the bill’s publication in the Official Gazette.
Bill Promoting Sustainable Production and Consumption of Ecological and Agroecological Products Progresses
A bill promoting sustainable production and consumption of ecological and agroecological products was approved in a second-round congressional debate. The proposal aims to develop strategies to overcome poverty, guarantee food security and nutrition, and improve environmental conditions, quality of life, and health of the general population. “Ecological product” would be defined as an “ecological,” “biological” and/or “organic” product (such as those derived from agriculture, aquaculture, and fisheries), intended for human consumption, that has been certified by the Ministry of Rural Development.
Draft National Energy Efficiency Goals Proposed
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development has proposed a draft resolution adopting energy efficiency goals, in accordance with the Indicative Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PAI 2017-2022) to develop the Program for the Rational and Efficiency Use of Energy (PROURE), established by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. National energy savings goals for 2022 would be set 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 would be able to submit requests to the National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) to receive special tax deductions with the implementation of certain listed energy efficiency actions and measures.
Colombia’s First Post-Consumer Appliance Program Expands Product Scope & Geographical Coverage
Red Verde ("Green Network"), the first post-consumer appliance program in Colombia, expands its product scope to include washing machines, air conditioners, and microwave ovens. Until now, the two-and-a-half-year pilot program has only conducted collection and waste management activities for refrigerators. Red Verde also extends its geographical coverage from the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Pereira to include operations in Barranquilla. Red Verde is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development through the Ozone Technical Unit and the National Association of Employers of Colombia (ANDI).
New ASEA Emergency Standard Approved
The National Agency of Industrial Safety and Protection of the Environment for the Hydrocarbons Sector (ASEA) published NOM-EM-004-ASEA-2017 in the Official Gazette, establishing specifications and requirements for the design, construction, pre-operation, operation, maintenance, closure, and dismantling of service stations that sell liquefied petroleum gas to the public by means of partial or total filling of portable pressurized containers. The new technical standard went into effect the day following its official publication and will remain valid for six months.
System for Verifying Employer Work, Training, & Health and Safety Conditions Approved
An Agreement was approved establishing the system for employers to inform the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security of their compliance with general conditions of work, training, and health and safety was published in the Official Gazette. In the online system, available at http://cumplilab.stps.gob.mx/, employers must provide information on all three categories, which the Secretariat will use to verify compliance with labor regulations and may corroborate through an inspection visit.
Draft Regulation for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Exploitation Activities Published
The Ministry of Mines and Energy has published the draft Regulation for Hydrocarbon Exploration and Exploitation Activities, which seeks to achieve the efficient recovery of hydrocarbons from its reservoirs under technical and economic conditions that promote operational safety and environmental protection. The draft proposal introduces rules to carry out hydrocarbon activities in shallow and deep waters (offshore operations). If adopted as proposed, the draft regulation would repeal Supreme Decree No. 032-2004-EM.
Draft Modifications to Hydrocarbon Sector Environmental Protection Regulation Published
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has published draft modifications to the Regulation for Environmental Protection in Hydrocarbon Activities. Of its key amendments, the proposal would incorporate a new section on “Social Aspects,” which would include rules requiring the owner of the hydrocarbon activity (Titular de la Actividad de Hidrocarburos) to include social aspects in the environmental impact assessment of the hydrocarbon project. Owners would also be obligated to develop a Social Management Plan to prevent or mitigate negative social impacts linked with their hydrocarbon project.
Draft Criteria for the Management of Contaminated Sites Published
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published the Draft Criteria for the Management of Contaminated Sites, which would establish criteria for the prevention, evaluation, and remediation of sites contaminated by human activities. Under the draft proposal, potentially polluting activities for soil would be those that use, handle, store, produce, emit, or dispose of hazardous materials, substances, or residues which, due to their toxicity, mobility, persistence and/or biodegradability, are capable of generating soil contamination.
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.