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 October 2016 issue covers developments from August 16 to September 15.
On September 1st, 2016, Argentina became the 24th country to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), the country declared an unconditional target to reduce its GHG emissions by 15% below its business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2030, and a conditional target (i.e. with international support) of 30% below BAU by 2030.
Environmental Protection Measures Proposed for Pulp & Paper Industry
A bill (No. 5574-D-2016) proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would establish minimum provisions to promote the sustainable development of the Argentine pulp and paper industry, including a requirement for companies to conform to the “Best Available Techniques” outlined in the bill. Existing facilities would face a series of deadlines to evaluate their current practices, propose changes, and ultimately comply with the new standards within four years. The same proposal was introduced in the previous legislative session as Bill No. 3589-D-2014.
National Program for Carbon Management Proposed
A bill (No. 5262-D-2016) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would call for the Multisectoral Climate Change Commission to develop the National Program for Carbon Management and the National Program for Climate Change Outreach. The National Program for Carbon Management would include carbon footprinting requirements and participants would be eligible for tax benefits and other incentives to be established in implementing regulations. The National Program for Climate Change Outreach would involve the dissemination of information regarding climate change impacts and measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental Impact Assessment Requirements Proposed
A bill (No. 5996-D-2016) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to establish minimum requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), required for any person or entity, public or private, that intends to carry out projects that may have significant impacts on the environment. An annex to the bill lists the categories of projects that would be subject to the EIA requirement. The same proposal was introduced in the previous legislative session as Bill No. 2000-D-2015.
Packaging Waste Management Bill Proposed
A bill (No. 3279-S-2016) has been proposed in the Senate to establish minimum provisions for the environmental management of packaging waste. If adopted as proposed, the bill would impose a range of obligations on producers, including the use of design-for-environment concepts in packaging manufacturing, package labeling requirements, and participation in packaging producer associations required to develop and implement integrated packaging waste management systems.
Electro-Electronic Equipment Planned Obsolescence Bill Proposed
A bill (No. 5846-D-2016) proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would modify the Consumer Protection Law (No. 24.240/1993) to establish standards for the design and production of electro-electronic equipment to prevent planned obsolescence. The bill would require manufacturers to guarantee that their products have a useful life of at least five years and ensure the availability of replacement parts for at least ten years after purchase. Products would have to bear a label that clearly indicates their useful life and environmental impact.
On September 12th, Brazil became the 28th country to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), the country declared an unconditional target to reduce its GHG emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025, and a “subsequent indicative contribution” of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Beginning August 22, 2016, blenders, hair dryers, and vacuum cleaners are now required to display a noise label established by the National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology (INEMTRO). The label, to be placed on the product’s packaging, provides information to consumers on the device’s sound power in decibels and classifies the device using a number system from 1 (quietest) to 5 (loudest).
The Committee for Social Security and Family in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 6786/13) that would limit the amount of cadmium allowed in jewelry, accessories, and toys. With its approval, the Committee proposed modifications to the bill that would adjust the cadmium threshold from 0.03% to 0.01% to align with European standards. Already approved by the Committee for Economic Development, Industry, and Commerce, the bill now moves to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
The Environment and Sustainable Development Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 4273/2016) that would amend Law No. 13.233/2015 by extending the deadline for cleaning products currently in circulation to display water shortage warning labels from December 29, 2016, to December 29, 2017. New cleaning products would still be required to comply with the labeling requirements by December 29, 2016. The bill now passes to the Committee for Economic Development, Industry, Commerce, and Service.
The Lead Paints Working Group has begun to analyze Law No. 11.762/2008—which limits lead levels in children’s products, such as toys, school supplies, paints, varnishes, and other similar coating materials used in places frequented by children—to develop implementing regulations. The Working Group is expected to complete its analysis by February 2017.
The Ministries of Environment and Finance, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), and associated trade associations gathered to negotiate the conditions of the pending sectoral agreement that would implement a nationwide collective take-back system for electrical and electronic products. The main issues of discussion included: financial impact to consumers, implementation costs, a special transport document, the hazardous classification of e-waste, and the need for collection points to have environmental licenses.
Technical Standard for Transboundary Movements of Used Electronics Approved
The National Institute of Standardization (INN) has approved a technical standard (NCh3383:2016) that establishes provisions for the transboundary movement of used electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). The Standard applies to operators who transport used EEE across country borders and is not applicable to other management activities for used EEE, such as collection, recovery transportation, or disposal. The Standard is based on the technical guidelines to the Basel Convention and references the international standard, ISO 20245:2014 “Cross-border trade of second-hand goods,” as a source for its development. A copy of the Standard may be obtained directly from INN.
Self-Ballasted Lamp Protocols Open for Public Comment
The Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels (SEC) has published two efficiency testing and certification protocols for self-ballasted lamps:
- PE 5/17/2: 2016would apply to LED lamps and would reference international standard IEC 62612:2015-10, “Self-Ballasted LED Lamps For General Lighting Services—Performance Requirements."
- PE 5/06/2: 2016 would apply to fluorescent lamps and would reference international standard IEC 60969: 2001, “Self-Ballasted Lamps for General Lighting Services – Performance Requirements.”
The two standards will remain open for public comment until November 2, 2016. Interested parties may send comments to Cristian Baeza Jiménez at [email protected].
The Minister of Environment, Pablo Badenier, announced that implementing regulations to the country’s newly enacted Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Law (No. 20920) are expected to be developed by May 2017 and implemented in stages, taking into account geographical and technological factors, the amount of waste generated, and economic and social impacts, among other variables. The EPR Law establishes a take-back framework for end-of-life "priority products," including e-waste, batteries, containers, packaging, tires, and lubricating oils.
Beginning August 31, 2016, many household appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, single and three-phase electric motors, and electronic and electromagnetic lamp ballasts sold in Colombia are required to display energy efficiency labels established by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINMINAS). Energy efficiency labels for commercial refrigeration equipment and gas appliances, such as cooking equipment and water heaters, will become mandatory on August 31, 2017.
A bill (No. 139/2016) unanimously approved in the Senate would ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change. Under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), Colombia declared an unconditional target to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% below baseline emissions by 2030, and a conditional target (i.e. with international support) of 30% below baseline emissions by 2030.
Used Tire Management Becomes Legislative Focus
Bogotá has issued Decree No. 265/2016 to amend an earlier decree (No. 442/2015) that established a program for the reuse and recovery of used tires. Of its key changes, the Decree would expand the scope of “tire producers” to include people or entities that import or assemble bicycles. Colombia’s Minister of Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, has also announced hopes for future amendments to Resolution No. 1457/2010 to gradually increase used tire collection rates to 90% (from the current rate of 35%); expand the scope to include tires from motorcycles, vehicles out of circulation, and ATVs; and clarify the enforcement responsibilities of environmental authorities.
National Climate Change Policy Proposed
The Ministry of Environment (MINAMBINETE) has published a draft National Climate Change Policy that would establish a roadmap for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Specifically, the Policy outlines five key strategies and provides an action plan that promotes climate change resilience within the areas of rural and urban development, ecosystem management, energy development, and infrastructure development.
Doha Amendment Ratified
On September 13th, 2016, Decree No. 39864-RREE was published in the Official Gazette, ratifying the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol. The Amendment establishes the second commitment period of the Protocol, which legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012, and the second runs from 2013 to 2020.
On September 21st, Mexico’s Environment Secretary, Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, delivered the country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations. Under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), the country declared an unconditional target to reduce its GHG emissions by 22% below baseline emissions by 2030, and a conditional target (i.e. with international support) of 36% below baseline emissions by 2030.
Electro-Electronic Equipment Planned Obsolescence Bill Proposed
A bill proposed in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies would modify the Federal Consumer Protection Law to institute measures intended to protect consumers from planned obsolescence, especially from electro-electronic equipment. The bill would emphasize the environmental impact of electronic products that become wastes after a short useful life and would recognize the right of consumers to be able to obtain repair services for the products they purchase.
The Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT), the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV Group), and the Mexican Carbon Platform (MÉXICO2) signed a collaboration agreement to launch an emissions trading pilot program with the aim of helping the country reach its international climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement. The pilot program involves 60 national and international voluntary participants from various industries, including the transport and power sector, and the paper, cement, steel, glass, and chemical industries, which annually generate 70 million tons of carbon dioxide.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) carried out its 5th National Highway Operation to ensure that materials, substances, and hazardous wastes are being transported in accordance with federal laws and regulations for the transport and transboundary movement of wastes. PROFEPA detected the irregular handling of 84.65 tons of hazardous waste, including used oils, lead-acid batteries, and empty containers containing hazardous waste remnants.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) published its 4th Government Report 2015-2016, which indicates that between September 2015 and June 2016, 4,860 environmental audits were conducted at industrial establishments, resulting in fines of 285.5 million pesos. In 1,864 (38%) inspections, companies were found to be compliant with environmental rules, 2,878 (59.2%) were found to have minor irregularities, and 118 (2.4%) were found to have major irregularities, resulting in 118 total or partial closures. 3,365 (69.2%) of inspections focused on hazardous waste management.
Water as a Fundamental Right Bills Proposed
Three bills (No. 100/2016-CR, No. 192/2016-CR, No. 262/2016-CR) have been proposed in Peru’s unicameral congress to modify the federal constitution to declare access to water a fundamental human right.
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.