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 January 2017 issue covers developments from November 16 to December 15.
Criteria to Establish National Strategy for Universal Management Wastes Published
The Ministry of Environment has published a resolution (No. 522 - E/2016) that establishes objectives, definitions, and guidelines for the development of a national strategy for Universally Generated Special Wastes (REGUs), defined as those wastes that, due to the amount generated and their hazardous characteristics, require different management from other wastes to ensure that they are dealt with in an environmentally adequate manner. REGUs are listed in Annex I and include waste electrical and electronic equipment, cells and portable batteries, low energy-consuming lamps that contain mercury, cartridges, and toners, containers that house hazardous remnants, and lead-acid batteries, among others.
Bill Promoting Renewable Energies Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would promote the installation of solar and/or wind equipment in family dwellings, public schools, and tourist accommodations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Covered entities would be eligible for a line of credit through the National Bank of Argentina to purchase and install the necessary equipment.
The Ministry of Environment has announced the publication of five waste management bills in 2017 to update, strengthen, and unify the current regulatory framework. The proposals will cover the management of general wastes, hazardous wastes, contaminated sites, emissions from fixed and mobile sources, and liquid industrial wastes.
House Approves Proposed Deadline Extension for Water Shortage Warning Labels on Cleaning Products, Passes to Senate
The Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill extending the deadline to display water shortage warning labels on cleaning products from December 29, 2016 (as established by Law No. 13.233/2015) to December 29, 2017. The bill would mandate that those cleaning products already in circulation would have until December 29, 2017, to comply with the new labeling requirements. Approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the bill now passes to the Senate for review.
House Committee Approves Bill Requiring the Use of Water from Air Conditioning
The Environment Committee in the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill amending the Federal Basic Sanitation Law (No. 11.445/2007) to require the collection, disposal, and/or use of water from the condensation produced by air conditioners designed for the exterior parts of public, private, philanthropic, and commercial buildings. Air conditioners and their respective systems would need to be sanitized and would be inspected periodically by the public authority to ensure their compliance with this rule. The public authority could establish other norms and technical standards to implement the bill. The proposal now passes to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
Environmental Sustainability Program Bill Proposed in São Paulo
The São Paulo Legislative Assembly has proposed a bill establishing the Environmental Sustainability Program, which would be voluntarily implemented within governmental agencies within two years after its approval. To develop the Program, all public entities would be encouraged to:
- Conduct an analysis of sustainability actions currently in use and provide a report on the results.
- Develop plans, actions, and projects to minimize environmental impacts.
- Establish targets and deadlines to achieve environmental sustainability goals.
- Create a work plan.
After this information is collected, a working committee could be established to devise the Program.
Draft Regulations to EPR Law Published
The Ministry of Environment has published three draft implementing regulations to the Law for the Management of Wastes, Extended Producer Responsibility, and Promotion of Recycling (No. 20.920):
- The Draft Procedural Regulation would:
- Establish the procedure for the development of waste recovery and prevention instruments, and collection and recovery goals for each one of the Law's six priority products.
- Outline the procedure, requirements, and criteria for the authorization of waste management systems.
- The Draft Regulation Governing the Transboundary Movement of Wastes would establish the requirements and procedures for authorizing the import, export, and transit of wastes.
- The Draft Recycling Fund Regulation would regulate the criteria for evaluating and selecting projects, programs, and actions supported by the Recycling Fund, the rights and obligations of selected entities, delivery of resources, and control mechanisms.
Paris Agreement Progresses in Congress
The Chamber of Deputies approved the draft agreement ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change. It now passes to the Senate for review.
Water Code Reform Approved by House, Passes to Senate
A bill modifying the Water Code was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and now passes to the Senate for review. The proposal aims to reinforce the characteristic of water as a national public good, recognize its vital functions, calls for the State to ensure that there is sufficient flow in all water resources and limit water use rights, and establishes a new type of water use permit (i.e. a concession) granted in accordance with water use priority functions.
Draft Decree Adopting GHS for Chemicals Published
Signaling further commitment to modernizing its chemicals regime, Colombia's Ministry of Labor has published a Draft Decree adopting the revised 6th edition of the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemical Products (GHS). The Draft Decree would apply to all individuals and entities, both public and private, that produce, import, store, distribute, and sell chemical products—either in pure form, diluted solutions, or mixtures—as well as raw materials intended to be used in the manufacture of chemical products and chemical products considered hazardous when transported. When new editions of GHS are issued, the Ministries of Health, Labor, Transport, Agriculture, and Commerce would have six months to review and incorporate the new GHS system into Colombian law, laying the groundwork for an ever-green and largely globally harmonized approach to chemicals classification and labeling.
Water As A Fundamental Right Bill Fails, Will Be Reintroduced
With only two congressional debates away from its approval, a bill reforming the federal Constitution to declare water a fundamental right failed in the Chamber of Deputies, terminating the process. The author of the bill, senator Jorge Prieto, announced that the proposal would be reintroduced.
The National Planning Department, in coordination with other government entities, has published the 2016-2030 National Integrated Solid Waste Management Policy (No. 3874). The Policy includes a list of nine recommendations, one of which calls for the Ministry of Housing, City, and Territory and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to develop studies and amend regulations to include the definitions for internalization of environmental and health costs, extended responsibility for packaging producers, and waste treatment, among others.
Draft Energy Efficiency Standard for External Power Supplies Published
The Secretariat of Energy has published a draft energy efficiency standard for external power supplies (Spanish acronym FAEs). It would apply to FAEs marketed, distributed, or supplied for sale purposes - either individually or as part of a final use product - within Mexico, and designed to convert alternating current into a continuous current with a maximum output power of 250 W or less. The draft standard would establish minimum energy efficiency requirements for operation, maximum electrical power limits for standby mode, testing methods, and marking specifications. The draft standard varies from its predecessor in that it would modify marking requirements and labeling specifications, among other amendments.
Draft Battery Classification and Labeling Standard Sets Threshold Levels for Mercury and Cadmium
The Secretariat of the Economy has proposed a draft battery standard that would establish and define characteristics of batteries, classification categories based on their electrochemical technology, maximum permissible mercury and cadmium limits, testing methods, and labeling specifications. The draft standard would apply to listed alkaline, carbon-zinc, silver oxide batteries, including some button batteries. Batteries that are marketed as part of an electronic or electric product and required for their operation would be excluded.
Empty Pesticide Container Management Bill Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would modify the General Waste Law to require management plans for agrochemicals and their empty containers. The bill outlines management guidelines for these products and associated wastes, specifying that:
- This regulation would be mandatory, regardless of the self-regulation measures developed and implemented by producers, companies, business organizations, and end-users.
- Priority should be given to actions that address reduction, reuse, recycling, resource recovery, co-processing, and controlled containment.
- The practice of abandonment and burial of waste or containers would be prohibited and would result in penalties.
- A network of primary and temporary collection centers should be designed to meet the needs of the regions with the highest rates of agrochemical use.
Response to Comments Received on Draft Energy Efficiency Standard for LED Lamps Published
The Secretariat of Energy has published its response to comments received on a draft standard that would establish efficiency specifications for general illumination LED lamps, with associated testing, certification and labeling requirements. If approved, the draft standard would repeal and replace NOM-030-ENER-2012.
Voluntary Energy Management Systems Standards Published
The Secretariat of Economy has published two voluntary standards for energy management systems:
- NMX-J-SAA-50006-IMNC-ANCE-2016 would be equivalent to international standard "ISO 50006, Energy management systems-Measuring energy performance using energy baselines (EnB) and energy performance indicators (EnPI)-General principles and guidance, ed.1 (2014-12)."
- NMX-J-SAA-50015-IMNC-ANCE-2016 would be equivalent to international standard, "ISO 50015, Energy management systems-Measurement and verification of energy performance of organizations-General principles and guidance, ed.1 (2014-12)."
The Secretariat of Energy has published the Transition Strategy to Promote the Use of Cleaner Technologies and Fuels in accordance with provisions under the Energy Transition Law. The Strategy has three main objectives:
- Establish medium and long-term goals and a roadmap for achieving these goals.
- Promote the reduction of emissions from the electricity industry.
- Reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels as a primary energy source as economically feasible.
The Strategy sets the goal of reducing the country’s final energy consumption intensity by 1.9% annually between 2016-2030 and 3.7% annually between 2031-2050. It also establishes the goal to boost the use of clean energies within the country’s energy matrix, achieving 35% renewable energy sources by 2024, 37.7% by 2030, and 50% by 2050.
Updated Draft National Sustainable Energy Use Program Published
The Secretariat of Energy has published an updated draft National Program for Sustainable Use 2014-2018 in fulfillment of obligations under the country’s recently enacted Energy Transition Law. The Program outlines objectives, strategies, and lines of action to be carried out by Federal Government institutions to achieve the following national energy efficiency goals, expressed in terms of final energy consumption intensity required in buildings, and the transportation, industry, and agricultural sectors to produce a unit of economic value:
- A reduction of 1.9% per year in final energy consumption intensity between 2016 and 2030.
- A reduction of 3.7% per year in final energy consumption intensity between 2031 and 2050.
The Program is aligned with the National Development Plan 2013-2018, the Energy Sector Program 2013-2018, and the Transition Strategy to Promote the Use of Cleaner Technologies and Fuels.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record in regards to Submission SEM-15-002, filed by several individuals and NGOs asserting that Mexico failed to enforce federal environmental rules during it country-wide transition from analog TV signals to digital. The submission process was therefore terminated.
Draft Energy Efficiency Standards for White Goods Published
The Ministry of Energy and Mines has pre-published 62 draft energy efficiency standards for a variety of white goods (i.e. refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, industrial boilers, water heaters, air conditioners, electric motors, and LED panels) that include packaging, labeling, and certification requirements.
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.