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 2016 issue covers developments from July 16 to August 15.
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, in coordination with the Ministries of Modernization and Production, have launched the Sustainable Public Procurement Project, an initiative funded by the United Nations Environment Programme that aims to incorporate sustainability criteria and consider economic and social costs when awarding government contracts for purchases of goods and services. Sustainability criteria will include energy efficiency, ecolabels, and carbon footprinting, among others.
The Ministry of Environment (MMA) and the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) have signed a technical cooperation agreement, authorizing the publication of information reported through a pollutant release and transfer registration and reporting program known by its Portuguese acronym, RETP (Registro de Emissões e Transferência de Poluentes), starting with data on 2016 emissions. Public disclosure of reported information will proceed in stages, with large potentially polluting activities publicized in the first year of implementation. To assist those entities obligated to report through the RETP, MMA recently published a revised Manual for RETP Declarants.
Public Comment Period Extended for Brazilian Chemicals Bill
The Ministry of Environment (MMA) will accept comments on its draft chemical regulatory bill through September 28, 2016, postponing the original deadline by 45 days. The draft bill would be the first law of its kind in Latin America, establishing a registry of chemical production and imports, a risk assessment process, and a risk management program authorized to impose substance restrictions and bans. For more information, see our news alert, Brazil Proposes Sweeping Chemicals Legislation.
The Brazilian Senate has approved a bill to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change in which Brazil pledged to reduce its emissions by 37% by 2025 and by 43% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Approved by the House in July 2016, the bill now has full congressional support and passes to the President.
The House Environment and Sustainable Development Committee approved a bill (No. 4123/2012) that would establish criteria for selling refurbished products, i.e. products that were used or damaged, then restored for sale. The packaging of refurbished products would need to be marked with the words “remanufactured” or “refurbished,” according to their classification. Approved by the Committee for Economic Development, Industry, and Commerce in 2014, the bill now passes to the Finance and Taxation Committee for review.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published Chile’s Second Environmental Performance Evaluation after its initial report in 2005. The Evaluation provides 54 recommendations to be implemented over the next ten years to help the country achieve its sustainable economic development goals. Recommendations include: expanding “green taxes” (tax paid by consumers for products or services that are not environmentally friendly), establishing a new water allocation regime, and developing abatement plans in areas where air quality standards are not met, among others.
In response to Chile’s newly enacted Recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility Law (No. 20.920), three of the country’s largest importers of car batteries, representing 60% of the industry, signed a Clean Product Agreement to form a collective management system for used batteries, considered hazardous waste. The initiative was launched by the National Clean Production Council with the support from the Ministries of Environment and Health, and the National Customs Service.
Hazardous Substance Bills Proposed
Two bills proposed in Congress, one in the Senate (No. 058/2016S) and the other in the House (No. 085/2016C), would call for the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, in coordination with scientific institutions, to:
- Carry out assessments of raw materials and substances that could pose a risk to human health.
- Impose protective measures, including restrictions and bans on the use of hazardous substances, if deemed appropriate.
New Lead Restrictions Bill Proposed
A new version (No. 033/2016C) of Colombia’s previous lead restrictions bill (initially No. 148/2015S, then No. 181/2015C), has been reintroduced in the Chamber of Deputies after an earlier, similar bill expired under parliamentary rules. The new version retains many of the revisions accomplished during the first round congressional debates but reintroduces provisions that impose maximum lead content limits for the exterior parts of products likely to be handled by children and sets labeling requirements for products that contain lead.
Climate Change Bill Proposed
A new bill (No. 054/2016) proposed in the Colombian Senate would establish guidelines for creating the National Environmental Council, a climate change fund, and a GHG emissions registry. The bill would also outline requirements for climate change adaptation and mitigation plans, focusing on key economic sectors.
Plastic Bag Bills Proposed
Three new plastic bag bills have been proposed in Colombia’s Congress. The first bill (No. 082/2016S), proposed in the Senate, would establish provisions to gradually phase out the production and use of single-use plastic bags, aiming to achieve an 80% reduction by 2020 and complete elimination by 2025. The second bill (No. 053/2016C), proposed in the House, would create a national environmental tax on plastic bags distributed at points of sale. The third bill (No. 045/2016C), also proposed in the House, would establish regional programs to carry out public awareness campaigns to promote the substitution, recovery, and reuse of plastics bags, and provide information on the negative environmental impacts associated with their use.
Asbestos Ban Bill Proposed
A new bill (No. 034/2016) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would prohibit the production, sale, export, import, and distribution of all forms of asbestos in Colombia. If approved, the ban would become effective five years after publication in the Official Gazette.
Mexico's Federal Commission on Regulatory Improvement (COFEMER) has published draft modifications (NOM-189-SSA1/SCFI-2015) to the regulation NOM-189-SSA1/SCFI-2002, which establishes packaging and labeling requirements for domestic cleaning products. Key changes would include new product classification categories and additional pictograms to communicate that a product is poisonous or corrosive.
LED Lamp Energy Efficiency Draft Standard Proposed
The Secretariat of Energy (SENER) has proposed a draft regulation (PROY-NOM-030-ENER-2016) that would establish energy efficiency specifications for general illumination LED lamps, with associated testing, certification and labeling requirements. The draft regulation would repeal and replace the existing standard, NOM-030-ENER-2012.
Official Seal of Conformity Draft Standard Proposed
The Secretariat of Economy has published a draft regulation (PROY-NOM-106-SCFI-2016) that would repeal and replace NOM-106-SCFI-2000, which establishes the design and use conditions for the Secretariat’s official seal of conformity, displayed on products that demonstrate compliance with Official Mexican Standards (NOMs) and Voluntary Mexican Standards (NMXs). Notably, the draft regulation varies from its predecessor in that it would increase the dimensions of the official seal, which could potentially increase industry costs as it may require producers to make space adjustments in product packaging.
Peru became the first country in Latin America to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change when (now former) President Ollanta Humala Tasso signed Supreme Decree No. 058-2016-RE on July 22, 2016. Peru has pledged an unconditional 20% reduction in emissions by 2030, compared to the business-as-usual projection, and a 30% reduction conditional on international funding.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINEM) has published six draft technical standards that would establish energy efficiency specifications for various LED lamps, with associated testing, certification, packaging, and labeling requirements. The draft standards will be open for public comment until September 13, 2016.
Minamata Convention Implementation Plan Published
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published a supreme decree (No. 010-2016-MINAM) approving the Multisectoral Action Plan for the Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Plan establishes a roadmap to properly manage, reduce or eliminate the use of mercury within key sectors in Peru. It directs MINAM and the Ministry of Exterior Relations to conduct an initial evaluation for the implementation of the Convention, publish a report on their findings by March 2017, and carry out the implementation process by July 2017.
Updated National Solid Waste Management Plan Published
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published a ministerial resolution (No. 191-2016-MINAM) approving the 2016-2024 National Plan for Integrated Solid Waste Management. The Plan directs MINAM, in coordination with other relevant agencies, to work toward the following goals for 2024:
- Develop and implement legal instruments, including technical standards, for the integrated management of municipal and non-municipal solid wastes.
- 100% of local governments and relevant sectors will provide annual information via the Solid Waste Information System (SIGERSOL).
- 100% of recyclable municipal solid wastes will be recycled.
- Develop and implement legal instruments, including technical standards, that apply the principle of extended producer responsibility for the management of priority solid wastes—especially electrical and electronic equipment.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published a supreme decree (No. 007-2016-MINAM) approving the National Strategy on Forests and Climate Change, which establishes guidelines for the design and implementation of public policies, programs, projects, and actions that aim to help Peru combat deforestation and the degradation of its forests, and mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Strategy stems from a participatory process involving public and private institutions, indigenous groups, the international community, research institutions, and the general public.
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.