August 2013
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NOTES FROM THE LATIN AMERICAN PRACTICE

Greetings from the Latin American Practice! We are pleased to provide our Latin American Region Environmental Report covering highlights from the second quarter (April - July) of the year. Please know that the Report is designed to capture major regulatory developments and emerging regional trends and is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage of all environmental initiatives. For more information on the Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. Latin American Practice, please contact Madeleine Kadas at mkadas@bdlaw.com .

ARGENTINA HIGHLIGHTS

Packaging Waste Management Bill Introduced in Chamber of Deputies

On April 11, 2013, a bill was introduced in the Chamber of Deputies that would create a national, comprehensive packaging-waste management system.  The Bill would apply to most packaging and packaging waste, and would regulate most entities that are involved with the packaging of products, the marketing of packaged goods, or the recycling or recovery of packaging waste.

Battery Waste Bill Introduced in Chamber of Deputies

On April 25, 2013, a battery waste management bill was introduced in the Chamber of Deputies.  The Bill would cover nearly all batteries, with the exception of industrial and car batteries. 

BRAZIL HIGHLIGHTS

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

Brazil Establishes Registry of Environmental Service Providers

Continuing a series of revisions to its environmental registries, Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency, IBAMA, recently expanded the Federal Technical Registry of Potentially Polluting or Environmental Protection Activities and Instruments.

Brazilian Government Proposes New Mining Law and Regulatory Agencies

Brazil’s executive branch has introduced a bill (No. 5807/2013; the “Bill”) that would restructure the regulatory oversight of its mining industry.  The Bill would replace the National Department of Mineral Production with a new National Mining Agency  and National Mineral Policy Council. 

Brazil Sets Standards for Alternative Aviation Fuels

On June 25, 2013, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency published Resolution No. 20 establishing specifications for alternative aviation kerosenes, allowing for the sale and use of fuels comprised of mixtures of traditional, oil-based kerosene and up to 50% alternative kerosenes. 

BRAZILIAN STATE DEVELOPMENTS

São Paulo Issues Implementing Regulation for Contaminated Site Law

On June 6, 2013, São Paulo’s environmental enforcement agency, CETESB, issued Decree No. 59263 to implement its 2009 law on “standards and procedures for the protection of soil quality and management of contaminated sites.”

São Paulo Revises Its State Air Quality Standards and Stationary Source Regulations

São Paulo has taken another step toward tighter regulation of air emissions with the publication, on April 24, 2013, of Decree No. 59113 establishing new air quality standards. 

São Paulo Requires Use of Biofuels in Government Vehicles and Emergency Generators

On April 3, 2013, Governor Geraldo Alckmin signed Decree No. 59038, establishing the São Paulo State Biofuels Program.  The Decree establishes procurement rules requiring in most cases that the vehicles purchased or leased by state agencies be capable of running on biofuels, and that the fuels used have at least a certain minimum biofuel content. 

CHILE HIGHLIGHTS

Chile Issues Regulations Regarding Registration of Contaminant Emissions and Transfers

On May 2, 2013, the Chilean Ministry of the Environment issued new regulations establishing a public reporting database to compile and analyze information regarding pollutant emissions and waste transfers.

Bill Would Incorporate Producer End-of-Life Responsibility Principle Into Chile’s General Environmental Law

A new bill introduced in the Chilean Chamber of Deputies aims to incorporate producer end-of-life responsibility into Chile’s general environmental law. The Bill, which was referred to the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, proposes the introduction of a new article, 47 bis, in the General Environmental Law. 

Ministry of the Environment Publishes Stringent Emissions Standards for Copper Foundry and Arsenic Emission Sources

On May 2, 2013, Chile’s Council of Ministers for Sustainability at the Ministry of the Environment approved Agreement No. 8, adopting standards regarding emissions from copper foundries and other sources of arsenic emissions.   

COLOMBIA HIGHLIGHTS

Colombia Regulates Protection of Strategic Water Resources

On May 17, 2013, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development officially issued Decree No. 953, which regulates Article 111 of Law No. 99/1993.  Article 111 requires departments and municipalities to earmark at least 1% of their annual revenue for the acquisition or maintenance of areas containing strategic water resources.  “Strategic water resources” refers to waters that are strategically important for municipal, district, and regional water use.  

Colombia Adopts New Mining Provisions

On May 14, 2013, the Ministry of Mining issued Decrees Nos. 933 and 934, regulating the application process for mining concessions and areas excluded from mining concessions. 

Colombian Ministry Proposes Classification System for Environmental Permitting

On April 24, 2013, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development’s  National Authority of Environmental Licenses issued a draft resolution proposing a Technical Classification System that would establish criteria for various categories of projects, works, and activities that must be submitted to the Technical Advisory Council for review as part of the permitting process.  

Colombian Senate Bill Would Prohibit Development of Certain Ecosystems

On April 17, 2013, Senator Juan Lozano Ramírez introduced Bill No. 206 to establish conservation standards for páramos (i.e., Andean tundra), wetlands, dry tropical forests, and national parks. 

COSTA RICA HIGHLIGHTS

Biofuels Bill Introduced in Legislative Assembly

On June 5, a bill was introduced in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly that would establish a law governing biofuels.  The Bill would officially create the National Biofuels Program, overseen by Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Oceans. 

Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures Updated

On July 17, 2013, Costa Rica’s National Technical Secretary for the Environment  amended the General Regulation on Procedures for Environmental Impact Assessments, with the publication of Decree No. 37803-MINAE-S-MOPT-MAG-MEIC.

ECUADOR HIGHLIGHTS

Ecuador Considers Proposal to Reduce Environmental Permitting Requirements for Mineral Exploration

On June 14, 2013, the National Assembly of Ecuador approved a bill submitted by President Rafael Correa to amend Ecuador’s 2009 Mining Law.

MEXICO HIGHLIGHTS

Mexico Enacts Landmark Environmental Liability Law

On June 7, 2013, Mexico published its long-awaited Federal Environmental Liability Law establishing the types of harms that incur liability and specifying which parties have standing to sue for environmental restoration. 

Mexico Regulates Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new Official Mexican Standard limits the emissions of greenhouse gases allowed from passenger vehicles and light trucks sold in Mexico.  The emission limits are mandatory for new vehicles up to 3, 857 kilograms, and apply to the fleets of vehicles sold by a given company in model-years 2014-2016; however, companies that sell less than 500 vehicles per model-year are exempt. 

Mexico Issues Product Stewardship Requirements for Plastics

Through a May 21, 2013, decree amending the General Law for the Prevention and Integral Management of Wastes, Mexico has enacted product stewardship requirements for plastics at both the beginning and end of their life. 

Mexico Will Establish Voluntary Sustainability Certification for Goods and Services

On May 24, 2013, Mexico amended its General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection to provide for the establishment of a certification and labeling program for environmentally sustainable goods and services. 

PERU HIGHLIGHTS

Peru Accelerates Agency Review of Environmental Impact Studies

With the publication of Supreme Decree No. 060-2013-PCM, on May 25, 2013, Peru has initiated a process intended to reduce the waiting time for agency review of environmental impact studies. 

Peru Relaxes Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide

Faced with an outcry from industry groups that compliance would be impossible, Peru’s Ministry of the Environment has postponed the implementation of its sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) air quality standard. 

Peru Amends Environmental Inspection and Assessment Law

On April 26, 2013, Peruvian President, Ollanta Humala Tasso, signed into  law an amendment (the “SINEFA Law Amendment”) to Peru’s National Environmental Inspection and Assessment Law.  The SINEFA Law Amendment changes Peru’s existing environmental enforcement regime, focusing specifically on the expansion of the administrative authority of the Office of Environmental Assessment and Inspection. 

Peru Establishes Office of Environmental Impact Assessment

The Peruvian Ministry of the Environment has issued regulations setting forth a timetable for the creation of the National Service of Environmental Certification of Sustainable Investments.  The SENACE is to be the MINAM sub-agency charged with approving environmental impact assessments for public and private investment projects in Peru.

PUERTO RICO HIGHLGIHTS

Plastic and Paper Bag Reduction Bill Approved by House Committee

On June 24, 2013, a bill that would eventually prohibit commercial establishments in Puerto Rico from providing customers with paper or plastic bags was reported out of committee in the House of Representatives. 

Environmental Audit Bill Introduced in Senate

On May 13, 2013, a bill was introduced in the Senate that would create an Environmental Audit Program under the auspices of the Environmental Quality Board.   Regulated entities wishing to participate in the Program would be required to submit an audit report to the Board that would, among other things, certify compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and describe proposed corrective actions for violations.  

URUGUAY HIGHLIGHTS

Bill to Create National Environmental Observatory Passes Chamber of Senators

On April 16, 2013, Uruguay’s Chamber of Senators passed a bill that would create a National Environmental Observatory within the Ministry of Housing, Land Use Planning and the Environment.

Uruguay Issues Decree Regulating Agrochemical Waste

On May 21, 2013, the President of Uruguay issued a decree regulating waste resulting from the use of chemical and biological products in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.  The Decree applies specifically to agrochemical containers, certain agrochemical delivery systems, and stockpiles of obsolete agrochemicals.  

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