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 June 2017 issue covers developments from April 16 to May 15.
Conditions and Requirements for Hazardous Waste Storage Approved
The Ministry of Environment has published a resolution (No. 177-E/2017) that establishes minimum conditions and requirements for the storage of hazardous wastes through guidelines provided in Annex I. The Hazardous Waste Directorate could modify these requirements depending on accredited and approved procedures, site-specific or functional issues of each establishment and/or hazardous characteristics of the waste in question. The Resolution does not exempt covered entities from also adhering to occupational health and safety requirements for the storage of substances and/or wastes established by the Ministry of Labor.
Plastic Bag Bills Proposed
Two plastic bag bills have been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies. The first bill would aim to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags through actions that promote:
- Reuse, recycling, and recovery.
- Consumer awareness of associated environmental risks.
- The use of environmentally-sensitive materials, techniques, and technologies.
The proposal would apply to all plastic bags used to hold or transport products supplied at any point of sale or delivery that are not part of the presentation of the product, or through the wholesale or retail sale of any item in any business or activity. The second bill would prohibit the use of bags made from polyethylene and other conventional plastic materials in supermarkets, self-service stations, and retail shops in general for the transportation of products sold. The plastic bag ban would be implemented gradually and progressively over time through the replacement of plastic bags with biodegrade equivalents.
PET Beverage Container Management Bill Proposed
A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would establish provisions for the sustainable management of used polyester terephthalate (PET) beverage containers with the aim of preventing and reducing their environmental impact. The proposal would apply to:
- Producers, packagers, importers and/or manufacturers of virgin materials used in PET beverage containers.
- Manufacturers and importers of PET beverage containers.
- Importers, manufacturers, distributors, and marketers of products housed in PET beverage containers.
- Those responsible for first placing PET beverage containers on the national market for a fee or free of charge, either directly or through vending machines, mail, or internet.
If adopted as proposed, covered entities would be required to participate in the Integrated System for the Sustainable Use of PET Beverage Containers and Their Wastes and adhere to recovery goals established by the Secretariat of the Environment.
State of the Environment Report Presented
The Ministry of Environment presented the 2016 edition of the State of the Environment Report, which provides an analysis of the current state of the environment in Argentina, taking into account social, economic, cultural, and ecological factors. It contains data and statistics on various aspects of the national environment, including water, atmosphere, soil, biodiversity, climate change, and waste. The Report is published annually as required by the General Environment Law (No. 25675) and is used as a management tool to help authorities evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the country's environmental policies.
Brazilian Dangerous Goods Transport Regulations Will Go Into Effect
The Brazilian National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) published a resolution (No. 5.232) in December 2016 adopting the 19th (2015) revised edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, known as the "Orange Book." Resolution No. 5.232 establishes complementary instructions to the Regulation for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (Decree No. 96.044/1988). Companies transporting or consigning dangerous goods by road or rail in Brazil must comply with these new rules by July 16, 2017. Until this date, covered entities may adhere to ANTT Resolution No. 420/2004, the predecessor of Resolution No. 5.232, which is based on the 11th (1999) and 12th (2001) revised editions of the UN Model Regulations. Among the key changes, the revised rules list approximately 150 additional dangerous goods, outline new security provisions, provide special requirements for lithium batteries and environmentally hazardous substances to the aquatic environment, and include specifications for dangerous goods packed in excepted quantities.
Green GDP Bill Approved by Senate Committee
A bill proposed in the Senate that would require the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) to annually disclose the country’s Green GDP, in addition to its conventional GDP, has been approved by the Economic Affairs Committee. Green GDP is an index of economic growth with the environmental consequences of that growth factored into the conventional GDP. The bill will now be voted on by all members of the Senate.
First Recycling Targets Under EPR Law Set for Automotive and Container/Packaging Products
The Ministry of Environment (MMA) announced that the first recovery and recycling targets to be set under the Law for the Management of Wastes, Extended Producer Responsibility, and Promotion of Recycling (EPR Law No. 20.920) will be for automotive and container/packaging products followed by lubricating oils, batteries, and tires. The targets will be implemented gradually in stages over a five year period, taking into account geographic and technological factors, as well as the amount of waste generated and its social and economic impact. According to a recently released 2017-2018 EPR Law Roadmap and Progress report, MMA aims to begin developing the draft decrees establishing the targets in July 2017 and publish the first draft decree in November 2017.
2017 Version of Energy Efficiency Seal Launched
The Ministry of Energy and the Chilean Agency of Energy Efficiency launched the 2017 version of the Energy Efficiency Seal (EE Seal), granted to companies within the country’s productive sectors, such as transportation, industry, mining, and commerce, that demonstrate a strong commitment by its board and/or management to promote the efficient use of energy. The new EE Seal various from its predecessor in that it:
- Highlights the importance of having an organizational structure that incorporates leaders in the field of energy efficiency, such as an energy manager.
- Establishes three tiers of energy efficiency achievement through Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories, which are based on the level of progress and effort by companies to implement energy efficiency measures.
- Introduces the incentive of a reward and special recognition of the energy efficiency initiative that has the greatest impact on its beneficiaries, regardless of energy efficiency achievement category.
Senate Approves Bill Promoting the Protection of Consumer Rights for Durable Goods
The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would institute rules for the protection of consumer rights for durable goods, which would be defined as those goods that have a useful life of two years or more and are demanded by consumers for use in their daily lives, such as cars, electronics, and household goods, among others. Among its key provisions, the proposal would hold the supplier who marketed the product, the producer who domestically produced the product and the importer who sold the product to the supplier (if applicable) jointly liable for damages to the product outside consumer fault. Sellers of durable goods would also be required to issue a Certificate of Guarantee to consumers.
Modifications to Producer Battery Take-Back Regulation Proposed
The Ministry of Environment has proposed modifications to Resolution No. 1297/2010, which requires producers of batteries sold in the country to develop and implement systems for the selective collection and environmental management of their end-of-life products. The proposed modifications would establish the following five management indicators:
- Collection and management.
- Information and consumer awareness.
- Increased geographical coverage.
- Consumer stimulus.
- Research and experimental development in the use of waste.
Each indicator would have a compliance target linked to a points system. Management Systems would need to demonstrate their compliance with indicators by obtaining at least 70 points. In 2019, however, compliance would require at least 75 points. Although not indicated in the proposal, this scoring system could be made more stringent over time.
Bill Ratifying Minamata Convention Approved in First Senate Debate
In a first-round debate, the Second Committee in the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would adopt the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Colombia, which became a signatory to the Treaty in 2013, aims to eliminate the use of mercury in mining by 2018 and industry by 2023.
Colombia Joins OECD Chemicals Committee
Colombia made strides towards its goal of becoming a member state to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by 2018 by obtaining membership to the Organization’s Chemicals Committee. Of the twenty-three Committees that it must join to gain accession to the OECD, Colombia has obtained membership to all but four. Colombia has been able to join the Chemicals Committee as a result of its advancement in three decrees associated with chemical substances: the first aims to prevent major accidents, such as spills and fires, the second establishes a program for the management of chemical substances used in industry, and the third regulates the labeling and classification of chemicals according to their risk to health and the environment.
Environment Code Approved
The National Assembly of Ecuador has approved the Organic Code of the Environment, which has the purpose of guaranteeing the right of people to live in a healthy and environmentally balanced environment and to protect the rights of nature. The provisions of the Code regulate the rights, duties, and environmental guarantees contained in the Federal Constitution, as well as the instruments that strengthen its exercise, ensuring the sustainability, conservation, protection, and restoration of the environment. The rules contained in the Code are mandatory for all institutions, organizations, and agencies that comprise the public sector, individuals and corporations, communes, communities, towns, nationalities, and groups that are permanently or temporarily in the country.
Regulation to Energy Transition Law Approved
The Secretariat of Energy (SENER) has finalized the Regulation to the Energy Transition Law, which details:
- Components of the National Program for Sustainable Energy Use (PRONASE).
- Enrollment requirements for the voluntary Excellence in Energy Efficiency Program.
- Labeling and reporting obligations for entities whose products are listed in the Catalogue of Energy Using Equipment.
- The approval process of supplier energy efficiency statements to be included in sales materials.
The Regulation went into effect following its publication in the Official Gazette.
Expired and Discarded Medicines Take-back Bill Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would amend the General Law for the Prevention and Integrated Management of Wastes to classify expired or discarded medicines as hazardous waste and therefore, subject them to Management Plan requirements. The proposal would also modify the General Health Law to encourage the public to deliver expired or discarded medicines to Management Plans for these items, established by the General Waste Law.
Bill Requiring Final Distributors of Batteries to Establish Collection Sites Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would modify the General Law for the Prevention and Integrated Management of Wastes to add a provision requiring final distributors of batteries (containing lithium, nickel, mercury, cadmium, manganese, lead, zinc, or any other element that allows for the generation of energy at levels not considered hazardous) to set up consumer end-of-life battery collection sites for the purpose of recycling.
Tax Incentives for Solar and Wind Investment by Private Individuals Proposed
A bill proposed in the Senate would give priority to granting tax incentives to private individuals who invest in clean energy generation technologies, such as solar and wind, and generally, those activities related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The proposal would also call for the National Program for the Sustainable Use of Energy (PRONASE) within the framework of the Energy Transition Law to include actions, projects, and activities derived from the national Energy Efficiency Strategy that would generate conditions that encourage individuals to develop and implement solar and wind projects for their own energy consumption.
Technical Specifications for Domestic Automatic Washing Machines and LED Panels Approved
The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) published Ministerial Resolution No. 143.2017-MEM/DM, approving technical specifications for two sizes of household, front-loading automatic washing machines, and Ministerial Resolution No. 152-2017-MEM/DM, approving technical specifications for twelve types of LED panels of various sizes and light types.
Hard Metals and Chemical Substances Risk Management Bill Proposed
A bill proposed in the unicameral Congress would create an Intersectoral Governmental Working Group, which would be responsible for diagnosing the level of risk to human health posed by hard metals and other chemicals substances, including conducting environmental impact assessments for certain projects, and developing and implementing standards, strategies, and policies to prevent, mitigate, and call attention to adverse health effects linked to these hazardous materials.
Draft Framework Law on Climate Change Proposed
A bill proposed in the unicameral Congress would establish general provisions for the planning, execution, coordination, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and diffusion of management in the face of climate change in order to comply with Peru’s pledge under the Paris Agreement and other international commitments linked to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.
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.