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 2015 issue covers developments from August 16 to September 15.
Under Senate Bill No. 2506/15, Nature would have the right to life, diversity of life, water, clean air, ecological equilibrium, restoration, and to be free from contamination and commercialization.
The Environment Secretariat has launched an online tool intended to facilitate information sharing among waste management stakeholders. Gathered data will contribute to the development of the country’s first waste map, which will improve decision making at the local level and promote efficiency in the distribution of resources.
New ABNT Standards Released
The following are available for purchase from the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT):
- ABNT NBR 14305:2015—ballasts and ignitors for metal halide lamps (halides), requirements and testing.
- Eco-label for sustainable events.
- ABNT ISO/TS 14067:2015—greenhouse gases, carbon footprint of products, requirements, and guidance on quantification and communication.
São Paulo's environmental agency (CETESB) and the Brazilian Packaging Association (ABRE) have signed a two-year memorandum of understanding for technical and scientific cooperation aimed at identifying and disseminating appropriate environmental practices for the packaging industry. There is an expectation that the memorandum will result in the development of criteria for evaluating the environmental performance of non-durable consumer goods packaging in the first half of 2016, along with case studies that illustrate the success of the criteria.
The Urban Development Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved Bill No. 1073/15, which amends the Environmental Crimes Law (No. 9.605/98), outlining administrative penalties for noise pollution that would include: a warning, suspension of activities, fines, and equipment seizure.
The Committee for National Integration, Regional Development, and the Amazon in the Chamber of Deputies has approved Bill No. 5760/13 to establish the "Green Seal for Amazon Preservation." If enacted into law, the Seal would be awarded by the environmental agencies that collectively comprise Brazil's National Environment System (SISNAMA) to environmentally friendly products derived from the Legal Amazon Region.
The Social Affairs Committee in the Senate has approved Bill No. 207/12 to establish the National Landfill Fund, which, if enacted into law, would finance up to 70% of a landfill project that met the requirements under Law 12.305/10, the National Policy on Solid Waste. Financed by the National Treasury or by donations, the Fund would have a ten-year term, and its resources would be used for technical feasibility and environmental impact studies, implementing environmental protection measures, and carrying out training for garbage collectors, among other uses.
According to the state environmental agency’s (CESTSB) most recent List of Contaminated and Rehabilitated Areas in the State of São Paulo, 34% of 5,148 contaminated areas have been classified as rehabilitated (563) or are in the process of being monitored to confirm their rehabilitated status (1,204). This represents a 33% increase from the previous year. 74% (3,825) of all contaminated sites stem from fossil fuel activities, 17% (862) from industrial activities, 5% (263) from commercial activities, and 3% (151) from waste disposal activities.
The Chilean Chamber of Deputies and the Senate have approved Boletín 7908 to amend the Traffic Law (No. 18.290) to include sanctions for the transport and disposal of waste to illegal dumping sites. If signed into law, any person who orders the unlawful transport or disposal of waste would be subject to fines of up to 100 monthly tax units, or approximately $6,500.
Boletín 10268, a proposal originating in the Chamber of Deputies, would amend Law No. 19.300, General Bases of the Environment, to recognize odor as a pollutant.\
The Superintendency of Environment (SMA) has approved the “Protocol of analysis and testing for electrical products to determine compliance with DS No. 43/12 MMA, protection from light pollution." The Protocol would apply to laboratories approved by the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels (SEC) and to manufacturers, distributors, and owners of installations utilizing incandescent filament lamps, high-intensity discharge lamps, and solid state lamps (LED) in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama, and Coquimbo.
The Chilean Technical Cooperation Project aims to provide technical assistance to explore, develop, and pilot alternative carbon price instruments in Chile that complement the country’s current carbon tax regulation. The Project is financed by the World Bank and administered by the Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AGCID).
In anticipation of COP21, Colombia officially pledges to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2030, based on 2010 levels.
The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MINMINAS) has announced the implementation of the Technical Regulation for Labeling Electrical and Fuel Gas Equipment (RETIQ), which establishes technical standards for labeling, testing, and certifying a range of electronic goods, including electromagnetic and electronic lighting ballasts. All covered products, both domestic and imported, must comply with RETIQ by August 31, 2016.
Among its key provisions, Senate Bill No. 058/15 outlines climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for key economic sectors, modifies the function of the National Environment Council, establishes a climate change adaptation and mitigation fund, and creates the State Registry of Emissions.
Chamber of Deputies Bill No. 091/15 establishes conditions for the safe disposal of used lubricating oils, industrial oils, and frying oils used in Colombia and prohibits the combustion of these oils, and their partial or total reutilization without treatment.
The Draft Decree would regulate provisions under the National Development Plan 2014-2018 pertaining to the operating activity and obligations of professional recyclers.
Through Decree No. 39114-MINAE, the Plan establishes guidelines for the agriculture, energy, transport, and water resource sectors to implement actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The country has the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021.
Costa Rica's Ministries of Environment and Health have announced the launch of the Hazardous Waste Management System (SIGREP), a new online tool to monitor and control hazardous waste generation and transit throughout the country. Generators, managers, and/or transporters of hazardous waste in Costa Rica must register under SIGREP by October 1, 2015.
A draft decree to reform the General Waste Law has been proposed in the Senate to strengthen Mexico's regulatory framework on the primary separation of urban solid waste. Under the Proposal, federal entities and municipalities would be charged with devising policies and promoting activities to encourage the primary separation of waste.
The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) has published its responses to comments received on draft standard PROY-NOM-019-SCT2-2014, "Technical Specifications and General Provisions for Cleaning and Controlling Substance Residues and Hazardous Waste in Units that Transport Materials and Hazardous Waste." PROY-NOM-019 would apply to all shippers, motor carriers, and cleaning centers that utilize vehicles to transport substances, materials, and hazardous waste.
Senators from the Parliamentary Group of the Institutional Revolutionary Party have published a proposal urging the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to coordinate with federal entities and municipalities to strengthen actions for the integral management of cells and batteries. The proposal also encourages SEMARNAT to conduct public awareness campaigns on the proper disposal of these products and the risks they pose to human health and the environment.
Under a Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) Agreement, reporting facilities must use this methodology when:
- It is not technically feasible to apply the methodologies under Article 7 of the Regulation to the General Climate Change Law.
- It is not technically feasible to determine the carbon content in the materials or substances used as fuels.
- The standard deviation of the carbon content is greater than 10%.
The Agreement enters into force five months after its publication in the Official Gazette.
These methodologies apply, as technically appropriate, to sectors, subsectors, and activities under Articles 4, 5, and 7 of the Regulation to the General Climate Change Law. The Agreement would enter into force following its publication in the Official Gazette.
From September 2014-June 2015, PROFEPA addressed 5,746 public complaints received through its online environmental complaints system, of which 6% pertained to hazardous waste contamination.
Adhering to criteria established by the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM) will gather environmental performance data from 2003-2013 and devise recommendations for improvement. The Evaluation demonstrates Peru’s continued commitment to adopting OECD instruments and illustrates the country’s willingness and ability to achieve high standards in its public policies.
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.