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Greetings from the Latin American Practice Group! We are pleased to provide our
Latin American Region Environmental Quarterly, covering highlights from the fourth
quarter (October - December) of 2011. Please know that the Quarterly is designed to
capture major regulatory developments and emerging regional trends and is not
intended to provide comprehensive coverage of all environmental initiatives.

ARGENTINA HIGHLIGHTS

Argentine Senator Filmus Introduces Packaging Waste Bill

In October 2011, Senator Daniel Filmus—a prominent legislator on environmental matters—introduced a bill that would regulate the management of consumer product packaging and its waste. The Bill applies the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR), aiming to hold producers responsible for the management of packaging waste.  

Buenos Aires Provinces Enacts Law on Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

In November 2011, the Legislature of the Province of Buenos Aires passed a law governing the management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Later that month, the provincial governor issued a decree promulgating the Law with modifications.

Río Negro Province Repeals Ban on Use of Cyanide and Mercury in Metal Ore Mining Operations

In December 2011, the Legislature of the Argentinean province of Río Negro (part of  Patagonia) repealed a provincial law banning the use of cyanide and mercury in the extraction, exploitation, and industrialization of metal ores.

BRAZIL HIGHLIGHTS

National Developments

CONAMA Issues Air Emission Standards for pre-2007 Stationary Sources

For the first time, existing facilities in numerous industries throughout Brazil must comply with nationwide air emission standards.

Brazil Formally Separates Environmental Licensing and Enforcement Authority of Municipalities, States and the Federal Government

On December 8, 2011, President Dilma Rousseff signed Complementary Law No. 140/2011, allocating the administrative authorities of the federal, state and municipal governments over environmental protection in Brazil.

IBAMA Regulation to Accelerate Federal Licensing Process

Responding to a dramatic increase in the volume of applications for environmental licenses, the Brazilian government has acted to streamline the process with a series of rigid deadlines for action by the federal environmental enforcement agency, IBAMA, and other federal agencies that collaborate with IBAMA.

Brazil Issues Offshore Oil Licensing Procedures

In preparation for the anticipated development of Brazil’s recently discovered offshore oil deposits, the Ministry of Environment has issued Portaria 422/2011, on procedures for the federal environmental licensing of activities and enterprises of exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the marine environment and the land-sea transition zone.

Ministry of Environment Initiates Producer Take-back Rulemaking on Lubricant Oils in Plastic Containers

Brazil’s Ministry of Environment has issued its first notice requesting proposals for producer take-back programs under the 2010 National Solid Waste Policy Law and its implementing regulation, Decree 7404/2010.

Brazilian Senate Amends House Bill to Replace 1965 Forest Code, with Amnesty for Past Deforestation

Brazil’s Senate has approved, with amendments, the Chamber of Deputies Bill No. 1876/1999 (reintroduced as Chamber of Deputies Bill No. 30/2011) on the protection of native vegetation, to revise the 1965 Forest Code, in a vote on December 6, 2011.

Brazilian State Developments

São Paulo Creates State Environmental Registry, Claims Portion of Federal Environmental Fees

Starting in 2012, companies that operate in a wide array of industries in the state of São Paulo must register with the State Environmental Secretariat (SMA), report annually on their activities, and pay an annual fee—the São Paulo State Environmental Control and Enforcement Fee—to SMA.

São Paulo Exempts Low-Impact Projects from Environmental Licensing

On December 27, 2011, São Paulo’s State Environmental issued a pair of resolutions exempting certain classes of agricultural and rural infrastructure projects from environmental licensing requirements.

CHILE HIGHLIGHTS

Bill Would Require Certain Businesses to Obtain Environmental Liability Insurance

Companies that produce, store, transport, or reuse toxic or flammable substances would be required to obtain environmental liability insurance in Chile to protect against harm to landfills under a new law.

Government Solicits Public Comments on Draft Revision of the Standard for Particulate Matter

Between November 21, 2011, through February 13, 2012, the public can submit comments to the Ministry of the Environment on proposed Resolution No. 1309, "Approving the Draft Revision of the Primary Quality Standard for PM-10" ( Aprueba Anteproyecto de Revision de la Norma de Calidad Primaria para Material Particulado Respirable MP10 ).

Proposed Changes to Bidding Process for Chilean State Contracts Awarded for the Transfer or Disposal of Toxic Waste

A bill to amend Law No. 19,886 (General Law on Administrative Contracts and Service Provisions) was introduced before the Chamber of Deputies on December 22, 2011.

Amendment to General Environmental Law Would Require Waste Service Providers to Increase Coordination with the Fire Department

On December 21, 2011, Chile’s Senate approved a proposed law to amend Article 12 of Chile’s General Environmental Law and voted to send it onto the Committee for the Environment and Natural Resources.

Proposed Law Would Require Large Mining Companies to Use Desalinated Water, Reduce Use of Surface and Ground Water

A new bill, "Obligating Large Mining Operators to Use Desalinated Water for Production Processes" would require operators who extract water for mining operations at a rate greater than 200L/second to use desalinated water instead of surface and/or ground water by 2016. (Art. 1)

Certification Requirements for Organic Farming Adopted

With the promulgation of Resolution No. 7880 on November 29, "Establishing Minimum Certification Requirements for Organic Agriculture in Accordance with Law No. 20.089, farmers and vendors must now satisfy certification requirements to label goods they grow and sell as "organic" in Chile.

COLOMBIA HIGHLIGHTS

New Senate Bill Would Standardize Green Marketing Claims

A new bill proposed in the Colombian Senate would create a framework for making "green" statements, declarations, claims and announcements related to activities, goods and services. 

New National Authority on Environmental Licenses Proposes Norm for Calculating Tariffs for Projects Requiring Environmental Permits

Within weeks of its creation, Colombia’s new National Authority on Environmental (ANLA) proposed a norm that would govern how fees are established for processing environmental permit, licensing and other authorizations.

City of Bogotá Proposes Stationary Source Air Emission Standards

Following on its 2011 Ten Year Clean Air Plan ( Plan Decenal de Descontaminación del Aire ), the City of Bogotá has proposed new stationary source standards located within city boundaries.

MinAmbiente Proposes Major Overhaul of Forrest Management Regulations

Colombia’s environment ministry has proposed new standards to implement changes to its 1974 Forestry Laws, amended in 2011.

MinAmbiente Proposes Terms of Reference for Developing Wetland Studies for Hydrocarbon Industry

MinAmbiente has proposed a brief Decree that would define reference terms for developing wetland studies for mining, oil and gas exploration, and agriculture.

COSTA RICA HIGHLIGHTS

Costa Rican Legislature Considering Bill to Allow Import of Special Management Waste"

Costa Rica’s unicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly, is considering a bill that would amend the country’s Law for the Comprehensive Management of Wastes to allow the importation of "special management waste."

ECUADOR HIGHLIGHTS

Changes Could Affect Profit Margins for Hydrocarbon Industry

A bill submitted before the National Assembly on December 8, 2011 proposes a new method for allocating profits made by petroleum companies.

Comprehensive Biodiversity Law Introduced Before the National Assembly

On October 26, 2011, Bill No. 147-11-LTG-AN "Law of Biodiversity" was presented before the National Assembly. The proposed law is notable for its length, and would establish a comprehensive system for protecting, conserving, and restoring biodiversity, and regulating its sustainable use.

Proposed Changes to Mining Law Would Significantly Affect Ownership Rights of Noncomplying Companies

A new bill would amend Ecuador’s Mining Law to define "loss" of mining rights entails for the existing operator in violation of the law.

MEXICO HIGHLIGHTS

Mexican Senate Approves Comprehensive Climate Change Bill

Mexico’s Senate has a passed a comprehensive bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that would institute nation-wide programs for adapting to and mitigating effects from climate change. 

Mexican Senate Unanimously Approves Watershed Environmental Harm and Natural Resource Damages Law

The Mexican Senate has passed a new bill that would dramatically expand the types of compensation that can be obtained for environmental harm and natural resource damages.   

Chamber of Deputies Approves E-Waste Take-back Bill

Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies has passed a Bill that would amend the General Law for the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Wastes to clarify when importers and producers must submit management plans for their end-of-life technological products and streamline jurisdiction over all e-wastes at the federal level.

Mexican Senate Weighs Bill That Would Designate Most Batteries as Hazardous and Subject to Producer Take-back Programs

The Mexican Senate has adopted a short bill that would designate a broad range of batteries as hazardous products subject to producer take-back requirements under Mexico’s existing waste law, the General Law for the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Wastes.

PERU HIGHLIGHTS

Mexico-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Approved

Mexico’s Senate has voted to replace its existing FTA with Peru, originally signed in 1987. 

Peru Institutes a 10 Year Ban on the Import, Production of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs)

The Peruvian legislature has issued a ban on the import and production of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), to allow the government time to establish a national infrastructure capable of evaluating activities associated with releasing LMOs into the environment.

Peru Proposes Sustainable Mining Plan To Eradicate Informal Mining

Peru’s Congress is evaluating a proposed law, No. 365/2011-CR "Bill to Formalize, Organize, and Supervise Informal Mining", that would eradicate informal mining.

Ministry of Environment Designated As Exclusive Competent Authority for Environmental Evaluations and Certifications

In Peru, local and regional governmental bodies, as well as several national Ministries, can all be considered a "competent authority" for environmental evaluations and certifications.

PUERTO RICO HIGHLIGHTS

Puerto Rico Enacts Electronic Recycling and Disposal Law

In December 2011, both chambers of the Puerto Rican Legislative Assembly passed a landmark electronic recycling and disposal bill that would implement the principle of producer responsibility with respect to a wide range of electronic equipment.  

U.S. EPA Enters Settlement with Puerto Rico Land Authority Requiring Wetlands Preservation

On November 9, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with the Puerto Rico Land Authority (PRLA, or Autoridad de Tierras de Puerto Rico) requiring PRLA to preserve 1,000 acres of wetlands in the town of Loiza.

Bill Introduced to Reduce Air Emissions from Idling Heavy Vehicles

In November 2011, a bill was introduced in the Puerto Rican Senate to reduce air emissions from heavy vehicles whose engines are left idling for extended periods of time.

URUGUAY HIGHLIGHTS

Bill Would Expand Regulation of Marine Pollution to Include Terrestrial Discharges and Invasive Species

Uruguay’s Ministry of National Defense, along with five other ministries, has proposed a bill to the Congress that would significantly broaden restrictions on marine pollution under the National System of Pollution Spill Control.

Uruguay Institutes Total Ban of Endosulfan

The Ministry of Housing, Zoning and Environment has acted to prohibit all import, production and use of the pesticide endosulfan in Uruguay. Decree 104/2011 makes the ban effective upon its publication, on December 5, 2011.

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