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 December 2015 issue covers developments from October 16 to November 15.
Bill No. 5627-D-2015 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to modify the Law for the Integrated Management of Domestic Waste by introducing the principle of "extended and shared responsibility." Under the broad bill, the principle would be defined as the waste management obligations carried out over the life cycle of a product (from production to end-of-life) by all members involved in the production chain.
Bill No. 5732-D-2015 (reintroduction of Bill No. 1859-D-2013) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to establish a national comprehensive packaging take-back program. If the Bill is passed in its current form, producers would be required to take responsibility for their packaging waste either through payment of a fee to a new management entity or through creation of their own deposit/return systems.
Bill No. 5656-D-2015 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to require containers or packaging of domestic cleaning and personal hygiene products to be marked with use information intended to minimize impact to the environment and promote water conservation. Retailers, producers, and distributors would be responsible for publicizing and disseminating information about the responsible use of their products.
The Ministry of Environment (SayDS) has published Resolution No. 940/2015, which modifies the Program for the Environmental Management of Contaminated Sites (PROSICO). The modifications include altering the objectives of the Program, the overseeing authority, and the financing mechanisms.
Bill No. 5806-D-2015 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to modify the General Environment Law (No. 25.675) to require legal and natural persons to adhere to strategic environmental assessment requirements when developing a new policy, plan, or program that may negatively impact the environment.
Bill No. 3775/2015 has been proposed in the Senate to establish guidelines for the design, development, and implementation of the National Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. Among its key provisions, the Bill would create the National Advisory Committee on Climate Change (CNACC) within the Secretariat of Environment (SayDS).
The Senate Environment Committee has approved Bill No. 38/2015, which would require the federal government to calculate the country’s Green GDP—an index of economic growth that incorporates "the national ecological heritage" into the country’s conventional GDP. The Bill proposes that the Green GDP integrate the United Nations Inclusive Wealth Index, a metric used to evaluate a nation’s capacity to provide for the welfare of their citizens in a sustainable manner.
Bill No. 3346-2015, recently proposed in the Chamber of Deputies, would modify the National Solid Waste Law (No. 12305/2010) by prohibiting the final disposal of products made from polystyrene foam (i.e., Styrofoam). The Bill does not clarify whether it would apply to packaging materials, and could be read as effectively banning all uses of Styrofoam within its scope.
Bill No. 3091/2015 has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to amend Law No. 9.991/2000 to offer subsidies and incentives to encourage the use of energy efficient domestic appliances and equipment that uses renewable energy sources, such as solar water heaters, lamps, and refrigerators.
The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury held a meeting in Brazil to discuss funding mechanisms for developing countries to implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury. At the meeting, it was announced that Brazil’s Chemistry Parliamentary Front is working to put the Convention’s ratification on the legislative agenda, which is expected to occur in the near future.
Brazil will receive $134 million Brazilian Rael ($35 million) from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol to implement the second stage of its Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) Elimination Program. After eliminating 16.6% of HCFCs in the first stage of the Program, Brazil now aims to achieve a 35% reduction of the substances by 2020.
The Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) has published ABNT NBR 14001: 2015, which establishes criteria for effective environmental management systems.
Bill No. 1456/2015 has been proposed in São Paulo’s State Legislative Assembly to require labeling of all "nanotechnology products" and "products that make use of nanotechnology." The Bill is largely identical to a bill (No. 5133/2013) currently pending in the National Chamber of Deputies and under active review by the Economic Development, Industry and Commerce Committee in recent months.
São Paulo’s Secretariat of Environment (SMA) presented the Climate Protocol of São Paulo State, a voluntary initiative to encourage companies to reduce their GHG emissions, improve water and energy efficiency, and implement social and environmental responsibility practices by offering points to companies that report environmental information. Companies could use high scores in advertising campaigns to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Boletín 7543 modifies the Water Code to define access to potable water and sanitation as an essential and inalienable human right that must be guaranteed by the State. Approved by the Water Resources Committee, the proposal now passes to the Agriculture Committee for review.
In an attempt to increase transparency within its operations, the Superintendency of the Environment (SMA) has published a document detailing the methodological basis for determining the penalties for environmental infractions.
A bill to create the National Climate Change Policy was proposed in the Senate. Among its key provisions, the Bill would establish the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Fund and the National Pollutant Emission Register.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAMBIENTE) has announced the adoption of its National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement. MINAMBEINTE will use the five-year Plan as a blueprint to implement strategies that promote sustainability in government acquisition of goods and services.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAMBIENTE) has published a resolution to establish and regulate the rational use of plastic bags within the country. The Resolution applies to manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and consumers of plastic bags distributed at points of payment.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has published Decree No. 39201-MOPT in the Official Gazette, which adopts the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code—an international guideline for the safe transport of dangerous goods by sea. The Code covers matters such as packing, container traffic and stowage, and the segregation of incompatible substances.
A Point of Agreement has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies, urging the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), in coordination with states and municipalities, to implement the "National Program for the Integral Management of Televisions Discarded Due to the Transition to Digital Televisions " (currently in progress) in a manner that complies with federal hazardous and special management waste laws and standards. The Agreement also urges authorities to integrate programs of recycling and reuse for discarded electronic components.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) conducted its 8th National Highway Operation to ensure compliance with national laws and regulations pertaining to the transport of hazardous materials, substances, and wastes. PROFEPA detected the irregular transport of 12 tons of hazardous waste, including used rechargeable batteries (accumulators), oils, lubricants, and biological infectious waste.
A bill to reform the Environmental Liability Law has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies. The Bill would introduce changes intended to:
- Loosen restrictions on private Mexican corporations whose company purpose is general environmental protection when filing an environmental claim.
- Expand the definition of the acceptable submission period for entities wanting to file an environmental claim.
Senate Steps Up Focus on Environmental Issues
A formal recommendation has been proposed in the Senate, urging the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to promote education and continuous training of all sectors of society to facilitate the transition to environmentally friendly consumption and production patterns. The recommendation also calls for Federal entities and municipalities to apply actions that foster a culture of separation and recycling of urban solid waste.
A Point of Agreement has been proposed in the Senate, urging the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to design and implement environmental awareness campaigns on the responsible use of plastic bags.
A formal recommendation has been proposed in the Senate, urging the federal executive branch to issue implementing regulations to the General Climate Change Law.
With the approval of Supreme Decree No. 002-2013-MINAM and No. 002-2014-MINAM, Peru continues to develop its national soil quality legislation, which forms the legal basis for management of contaminated sites in the country. The first stage in implementing the Environmental Quality Standards for Soil requires "titulares" to submit a report (in accordance with Supreme Decree No. 013-2015-MINAM) that identifies contaminated sites, as well as new activities and projects that will cause or have the potential to cause soil contamination.
At a waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) seminar organized by the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) and the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima, MINAM announced two important goals to be integrated into upcoming policies:
- By 2016, all non-municipal management plans must include actions for WEEE management.
- By 2021,100% of WEEE in Peru will be managed in accordance with environmental standards.
MINAM also stated that it is currently working on updating the General Solid Waste Law (No. 27314/2000), which is now 15 years old.
The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has published a draft regulation that would modify "Measures for Optimizing and Strengthening the National System for Environmental Impact Assessments" (EIA) within the Law to Promote Investments (Law No. 30327). The proposal aims to develop the Global Environmental Certification process and includes annexes for the mining, hydrocarbon, and electricity sectors that outline minimum content requirements for EIAs.
The Governor of Puerto Rico has issued Executive Order OE-2015-040, which requires the Solid Waste Authority (ADS), starting July 1, 2016, to prohibit commercial establishments from dispensing plastic bags. Six months prior to the prohibition date, ADS will be charged with designing and implementing a public education and awareness campaign on the benefits of not using plastic bags and switching to environmentally friendly alternatives.
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.